Accessibility of educational websites in Ecuador and Equatorial Guinea: A tale of two countries
Pastor Nso-Mangue, Tania Acosta, Sergio Luján-Mora
Proceedings of the 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2023), p. 6119-6127, Valencia (Spain), March 6-8 2023. ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4. https://doi.org/10.21125/inted.2023.1619
(INTED'23a) Congreso internacional / International conference
The right to inclusive education for all persons with disabilities is recognized in the article 24 Education of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations in December 2006. Nowadays, web technologies enable an important part of the interchange of information and communication among education stakeholders as teachers, students, and administrative staff. Even more, the historic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the e-learning in most countries because they were forced to implement some form of online remote learning. Nevertheless, although web technologies are supposed to ease the interchange of information and communication and to facilitate e-learning, there are several barriers and issues that prevent such web technologies to better contribute to the education of people with disabilities. Web accessibility usually refers to creating websites that all users can use them, regardless of users’ disability. When websites are correctly implemented, all users can have access to their information and functionality. The accessibility of educational websites is a requirement in most developed countries, but it is usually neglected in developing countries. Although the distinction between “developed” and “developing” countries is outdated, the latest classifications sorted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations classify Ecuador and Equatorial Guinea as developing countries. However, these two countries present important differences when they are analyzed in detail. For example, according to The World Bank, in 2021 the population of Ecuador was more than ten times greater than the population of Equatorial Guinea (17,888,474 versus 1,449,891). However, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of Ecuador was 5,934.9 US$, whereas the GDP per capita of Equatorial Guinea was 8,462.3 US$. Regarding the Human Development Index (HDI) compiled by the United Nations Development Programme, in the latest report published in 2022, Ecuador’s HDI is 0.740 (high), whereas Equatorial Guinea’s HDI is 0.596 (medium). The goal of this work is to check and compare the level of web accessibility compliance of educational websites in Ecuador and Equatorial Guinea to have a current diagnosis of the situation. For this purpose, different web accessibility evaluation tools are used to perform the analysis. For the analysis, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 of the World Wide Web Consortium are applied. WCAG are widely accepted as the definitive guidelines for creating accessible websites in many countries around the world. The preliminary results of our research show that several educational websites of both countries have accessibility issues and fail to comply with the WCAG.