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Towards a more inclusive society through the use of ICT

Publication Date: Dec 02, 2014
​FITA AGM with H.E. The President of Malta and Hon Herrera​
FITA AGM with H.E. The President of Malta and Hon Herrera
H.E. The President of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca together with Parlamentry Secretary Hon Dr Jose Herrera and Hon Kristy Debono, presided the Annual General Meeting of the Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility (FITA). 

“It is important that whoever is providing ICT services, appreciate and implement effective ICT accessibility mechanisms in order to have a more inclusive society through the use of technology.” stressed H.E. The President of Malta while thanking FITA, the private sector, government departments and persons with disability for their dedication and tangible actions.

This year’s FITA AGM was preceded by a mini Expo to which local organisations and suppliers of accessible ICT products were invited.  During the activity a live demonstration of ICT accessibility products was showcased, where visitors were able to try the products and evaluate how they could benefit from them.  Some of these products are also part of the FITA ICT pool and can be borrowed all year round from FITA.

The mini Expo also included a number of presentations about ongoing projects and accessibility aspects which drew a lot of interest.

Ms Elizabeth Olivieri, Chairperson of FITA addressed those present and thanked the esteemed guests, for their continued support.  She also thanked Mr. Tony Sultana, MITA’s Executive Chairman for the support that MITA regularly gives to FITA.

Ms. Olivieri described how FITA has a reltively wide portfolio of services and initiatives geared at addressing both disabled persons and also educators and employers who seek to enhance the accessibility of their services.  She also urged disability NGOs and service providers to make use of these tools and opportunities provided by FITA. 

As per Government’s vision in this sector, FITA can collaborate with private and public sector entities to ensure that more persons with  disabilities can be integrated into various jobs and initiatives. This will be done by improving the ICT knowledge and skills of persons with disability through FITA’s various programmes and also by suggesting applicable ICT platforms for entities to operate more inclusivly.  
Mr Stanley M Debono, FITA CEO delivered an overview of FITA’s activities, including the use of the MSE over the years and the benefits for entities like local banks and their clients from using FITA’s ICT Accessibility Certification services.  Mr Tony Borg and Mr Joseph Cauchi, both FITA service users, delivered short presentations outlining how they benefited from FITA ICT  Training and FITA’s ICT Accessibility Consultancy respectively.

Opposition Spokesperson for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Hon Kristy Debono, explained how important it is that more individuals get to know about FITA’s work and how this is benefitting large amounts of disabled persons through increased accessibility.

Hon. Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, commented how the training and ICT solutions must be used for persons with disability to generate exposure to work opportunities.  This will not only lead to financial independence, but as FITA experienced directly through its own ICT courses, an increased level of self confidence. “These people that are working wholeheartedly to gain qualifications and maximise their potential” he said.

Persons with disability have increased access to education and rightly so, now have higher expectations.  It is therefore important that they are given equal opportunities for work, so they will continue to become more productive and contribute more actively in society.