International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a global observance held every year on December 3rd to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society.
So, why is this important?
The United Nations held the first official International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 1992. They did this to advance disability rights and protect the well-being of people with disabilities.
According to the WHO World Report on Disability 2011, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, live with a disability. The global disability prevalence is higher than previous WHO estimates, which date from the 1970s and suggest a figure of around 10%.
The global estimate for disability is on the rise. This is due to population ageing, the rapid spread of chronic diseases, and improvements in the methodologies used to measure disability.
Observance of this day is crucial to understand the social, political, economic and cultural disturbances that happen in the lives of people with disabilities. IDPWD highlights how these persons often suffer due to unequal opportunities, discrimination and lack of empathy.
Under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. This is where the theme for this year arose.
This year’s theme: IDPWD 2021
This year, the theme for IDPD is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”
This year, we are celebrating the challenges, barriers and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a global pandemic. The goal for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to spread awareness of invisible disabilities as well as the impact that COVID-19 has had on mental health.
Since March 2020, every person on earth has been impacted by drastic political, social and economic change as a result of domestic and international responses to COVID-19.
Disability and Education
The theme for this year’s IDPWD places emphasis on inclusion and accessibility in a post-Covid 19 world. This includes a push for more inclusive learning and access to education for all.
With this sudden shift away from the classroom during the Covid-19 outbreak, some people wonder whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic and how such a shift would impact the worldwide education market.
The gains in moving to blended or online learning need not be lost – with a pivot to online came the greater provision of digital materials. For example, lectures can now be accessed through video and recorded live, hopefully mostly with captions or transcripts available, to be accessed at a later time. This helps provide support to learners with disabilities that were not always there in a classroom setting. In cases where Learning Management Systems have integrated accessibility toolkits that allow students to convert documents into the formats that suit them, this increases the support of a more personalised self-service. This promotes more engagement with the course content and promotes better learning access and outcomes. This is vital for students with disabilities.