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Thai Agencies to Ensure Websites Offer Better Access for People with Disabilities

Puchpong Nodthaisong, Thailand’s Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, the Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (NESDB), has drafted a standard for evaluating website development agencies. The measure includes criteria, methods and guidelines for the agencies to comply with the bars so the website can be more user-friendly for people with disabilities.

“The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) assessment committee will invite government agencies to develop websites that are accessible to the public. Including people with disabilities, which meets international accessibility standards. The standard has been made to strengthen incentives for government agencies to accelerate website quality enhancement so that all groups of people can truly benefit,” said Puchaphong.

The WCAG is intended to encourage government website developers to recognise the problem and the importance of user-friendly websites for all people who use computers. They must also accelerate the quality enhancement of the internal agency’s website.

Puchpong Nodthaisong announced the initiative while chairing the committee meeting to evaluate websites that are accessible to all. The regulation must consider establishing criteria, methods, evaluation, and scoring guidelines for contests and agencies that create websites accessible to all.

In 2022, the NSC conducted a website inspection of 411 government and departmental agencies. The results showed that 242 agencies, accounting for 58.82%, meet international standards. However, only slightly over half of all the government and department websites meet the requirement for people with disabilities to access and while others do not meet accessibility standards, according to the findings.

In light of this, an awareness-raising support plan has been prepared – the Web Accessibility course. The programme develops knowledge for personnel in government agencies to earn how to improve and expand their cognitive abilities. Training sessions will be provided to educate government agencies and agencies within their affiliation during the development of agency websites by WCAG standards.

According to the Web Accessibility course, 450 people will be trained, and seminars will be held to motivate and raise awareness for government agencies. The agency’s website needs to comply with publicly accessible website development guidelines.

Thailand’s government is keen to keep speeding up its digital transformation plans. Thailand’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) has recently launched the AI Governance Clinic (AIGC), which will serve as a repository of Thai and international knowledge and expertise on artificial intelligence (AI) governance and adoption.

ETDA is joining forces with the nation’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC), the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Medical Services, and the Department of Health Service Support. During the nation’s “Building Trust and Partnership in AI Governance” event, ETDA and the three partners signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

According to ETDA Executive Director Dr Chaichana Mitrpant, AI significantly impacts almost every aspect of people’s lives, including work, business, education, finance, health, and electronic transactions. ”

The Cabinet recently approved a six-year national AI implementation plan for national development between 2022 and 2027. One strategy outlined in the programme for ensuring that users understand social responsibility is the integration of AI with governance, as well as relevant laws and regulations.

The agency is working with NECTEC to achieve the goals outlined in the implementation plan. Among their essential joint projects is a study on Thailand’s AI legal landscape to develop AI adoption measures and a reflection on efforts to assess AI-based computer programmes to increase the capacity of Thai entrepreneurs in all industries under international standards.

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