The Year We Led The Way
As 2019 draws to a close, South Australia is the year we led the way. I am taking time out to review and reflect upon the major milestones of the year to help map out a trajectory for 2020.
2019 has been a most important year for South Australia, as major changes were implemented at a governmental level. These now affect all government public-facing media, including school websites.
On 16th May 2019, the South Australian Government released its Online Accessibility Policy and Toolkit. One significant change that affects schools is that all school websites released after this date now are required to comply with the policy.
Edu Net Solutions is proud to be the only South Australian privately owned school focused web development company that contributed to the development of the policy. Visit https://accessibility.sa.gov.au/about (See Alpha – Consultation).
Barely two weeks later, we launched the first Department for Education accessible school website in South Australia. Our template, audited earlier in the year by Vision Australia, ensures all our school websites comply with the Government of South Australia’s policy. School Website Development Framework guides schools through the development process.
In November 2019, Edu Net Solutions became a finalist in the category, Education Website of the Year, for the website we built for the Whyalla Special Education Centre. We were the only web development company in South Australia and the eastern states to have received this recognition and we give thanks to the Centre of Accessibility for this honour.
In December 2019, the South Australia Government and Vision Australia, released a case study called “Push and pull: Why South Australia leads the way in online accessibility”. We are honoured to be featured in this study. You can read about our involvement in the Online Accessibility Policy in the section called Community Reach, on page 17 of the case study, and on the Vision Australia website.
Ultimately, the South Australian accessibility policy is about making sure that all online governmental media is accessible to all. Why is this important? Because 4.4 million people live with a disability in Australia; that is almost 20% of the population! While people with disabilities can access digital media, they sadly can only do with ease when it’s developed accordingly. The online accessibility policy created by the government is slowly redefining what social inclusion and accessibility means in the 21st century. As we move into a new decade, I strongly believe that the next crucial stage is to further support other major societal institutions, such as schools, to improve their capacity for social inclusion through digital accessibility. At present, accessible school websites in South Australia are very rare. My team and I are already committed to changing this—and we are helping schools, not just because there is a policy, but because it’s the right thing to do.
South Australia has led the way in online accessibility, Edu Net Solutions are honoured to be part of it and will continue to ensure your school website is compliant and can be used by all Australians, just as the policy intended. I can safely say that 2019 has been the year we led the way, and we will continue to lead the way in 2020 in beyond, as we will always put people first.
Written by Kirio Crespo