Title DICOMP Transfer
Project Number 2009-1-AT1-LEO05-01185
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text The DICOMP Transfer project deals with the situation of blind people in Europe; especially as far as their access to vocational education and the labour market is concerned, these people face particular discrimination due to an increasing digitisation of contents and topics.
Summary Besides numerous other issues of social discrimination and drawbacks, blind and visually impaired people particularly face serious disadvantages on the labour market. The unemployment rate among this target group of more than 6.5 million people in Europe is extremely high in all EU countries.(E. g. Germany: 72 %; Poland: 87 %; between 40 and 50 % on average in the European countries; see Employment Study of the European Blind Union.) There are still hardly any chances for this target group to get high-quality and, therefore, highly reputed jobs. The reasons for this situation are manifold: In addition to a generally still discriminating approach by the society and in addition to high competition and globalisation pressure on enterprises, which makes consequent employment of blind people difficult, the situation can particularly be seen in connection with the fact that high-quality jobs almost always demand IT knowledge. The possibilities for blind people to work with IT, however, are basically subject to the following limitations: the working aids offered (screen reader software) are expensive and cannot be financed by the enterprises without external support (by the welfare systems); existing working aids are only poorly compatible with standard software (e. g. Outlook, Excel, Access); individual countries (mainly among the new member countries) have no supporting systems that would fund the use of existing solutions. Moreover, blind people are often not sufficiently competent to work with existing working aids, and there is no adequate supporting structure. Generally, this situation results in blind people facing tremendous labour market disadvantages all over Europe (and particularly in the new member states); they have hardly any chances of getting into high-quality jobs since they cannot (or only with the help of extremely expensive means) work with the IT support that is characteristic for these jobs. In times of economic crisis throughout Europe, this development is even dramatically intensifying. This altogether results in the urgent demand for a package for blind people to support them in picking up IT-based content (at work and in education and training). Such a package should be: available for free, available in all European languages, accompanied by an adequate supporting structure.
Description The DICOMP Transfer project deals with the situation of blind people in Europe; especially as far as their access to vocational education and the labour market is concernded, these people face particular discrimination due to an increasing digitisation of contents and topics. Higher-quality jobs and more complex forms of vocational education and training are usually based on IT-based content. At the same time, blind people face - due to missing possibilities and tools - huge barriers, which are also responsible for the high unemployment rate of more than 70 % (!) on a European level. In most countries, existing solutions for the target group to pick up electronic learning content cannot be funded because of missing or weak social welfare systems and can, therefore, not be used. The DICOMP Transfer project adapts the only free tools package in Europe for picking up IT-based content that has been developed in an e-learning project (DICOMP-S.NET) and transfers it into the newly defined target countries (ES, EL, TK, PL, and BG).
Access for disadvantaged
Open and distance learning
program or curricula
Product information The tools package consists of a screen reader software, a speech synthesiser, a tutor training programme, and a fully comprehensive user documentation. During adaptation phase, existing contents and tools have been, based on a detailed specification analysis in the new target countries, adapted to the new specifications. During the project implementation phase, these tools have been - accompanied by an information campaign for companies and institutions dealing with vocational education and training - transferred to the new target countries and are now widely used there. The project partnership consists of representatives of the root project (representing technical and pedagogic parts) and of institutions dealing with education and training and counselling for the target group in the new target countries; the latter act as adaptation and transfer partners. The expectations with regard to the project impacts include reaching improved accessibility regarding vocational education and training and also regarding the labour market for about 30 % of the blind people in the respective partner countries; without the project results these people would have no possibility of adequately picking up IT-based contents in their vocational education and training. The project results are (a) a screen reader for all electronic learning contents, (b) a speech synthesiser for the voiced output of the contents, (c) a tutor training programme for tutors who support the implementation and use of the products within the target group, and (d) a full user documentation (manual) with explanations for using the results. All products are available in the languages DE, EN, ES, EL, TK, BG, and PL.