1 Universidad de Alicante (SPAIN)
2 Escuela Politécnica Nacional (ECUADOR)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 5059-5068
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.1305
Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain
The information society is characterised by the provision of services through information and communication technologies. Universities have adopted the web as the main form of interaction with their communities. However, not everyone has equal access to these services, especially people with disabilities. In 2012, a United Nations report found that 14% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. As internet use grows globally every year, there is a need to make the web accessible to all, especially in educational institutions that shape future citizens. Although the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) publishes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), now at version 2.2, many university websites still do not comply. This means that people with disabilities still face barriers to accessing the web. Web accessibility is therefore an ongoing challenge that needs to be monitored to raise awareness of improvements.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities were forced to improve their web services due to the lockdown. The main objective of this study is to check the status of these improvements three years later, after the end of the COVID-19 outbreak, by conducting a web accessibility evaluation of the top 10 universities in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

This objective is subdivided into the following objectives:
- Determine the scores of the homepages of selected top 10 universities from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
- To compare web accessibility performance across the five continents.
- Compare the performance of websites of universities from the same continent.

The results show that the level of accessibility of the universities analysed is unsatisfactory and needs to be improved in order to achieve an inclusive education system. The results obtained contribute to raising awareness of the need for continuous improvement of web accessibility and that possible improvements based on temporary needs do not guarantee web accessibility.
Disability, inclusive education, university, WCAG, web accessibility.