Mphasis sets up Chair for digital accessibility for disabled

Mphasis, a IT services and solutions provider, announced Mphasis Chair for Digital Accessibility and Inclusion in partnership with Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB). According to the recent World Report on Disability published by World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability, which is approximately, 1 in 7 people. Understanding the technology needs of PwD and providing workable solutions is key.

In a first of its kind initiative, Mphasis Chair for Digital Accessibility & Inclusion will focus on:

  • Building technology to help Persons with Disabilities (PwD) to overcome digital accessibility barriers
  •  Promoting research around disability and advocate digital accessibility solutions
  •  Publishing global best practices in the area of accessibility for PwD with a large focus on digital accessibility
  •  Structuring and crafting strategic roadmap for organizational policy makers, researchers, practitioners and students to address critical gaps in research and development in digital accessibility
  • Emphasizing on various aspects of Digital Accessibility, Mphasis chair at IIMB will conduct
  •  Studies and publication of industry trends and best practices with regard to digital inclusion, career success and digital accessibility
  • Engagement with Mphasis to aid inclusion of employees with disabilities through digital accessibility solutions
  • Engagement with the Office of Disability Services at IIMB to aid inclusion of students with disabilities through digital accessibility solutions.

“World of digital offers us with a tremendous opportunity for inclusion of PwD. While Mphasis has been very active and consistent in trying to make a difference in the lives of PwD, now is the time to take it to a different level leveraging Digital Technologies. This partnership with IIMB is a big milestone for us to collectively make a difference. I welcome all enterprises to join hands in making Digital Accessibility an important milestone in their journey of CSR,” said Ganesh Ayyar, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Mphasis.

“We all have different degrees of abilities and different types of abilities. So, when we refer to this group called persons with disabilities, we are not looking at some ‘other’; we are looking at us,” observed Professor Mukta Kulkarni, the newly named Research Chair, adding that the partnership would certainly provide a fillip to sustained studies in the area of organizational diversity management and forms of social inclusion.

Professor Mukta Kulkarni has published papers in international journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Human Resource Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and The Leadership Quarterly. Her co-authored paper on radical change has been recognized as the best paper for year 2007 in the Academy of Management Journal. Her co-authored paper on overqualification has been recognized as the Outstanding Paper in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

The MoU was exchanged between Ganesh Ayyar, CEO & Executive Director, Mphasis and Professor R Srinivasan, Director Incharge, IIM Bangalore.

At an industry wide roundtable organized in the city by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) in partnership with Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJ&E) and NASSCOM Foundation, Mphasis and IIM-B reaffirmed their commitment in the area of digital accessibility. The round table discussion was intended to sensitize companies about ways to make their own websites, products and service offerings accessible for persons with disabilities.

Supported by Mphasis, the event provided a greater platform for the ecosystem including the government, policy makers, industry representatives and corporates to join hands and discuss the importance of accessibility in all spheres of life, especially Information and Communication Technologies for ensuring barrier free and independent life for people with disabilities.

Chief Information Officers and Chief Technology Officers from leading corporates and start-ups attended the discussion along with few government representatives. Som Mittal, Former President and Chairman NASSCOM, Mukesh Jain, Joint Secretary, MSJ&E, Ganesh Ayyar, CEO & Executive Director, Mphasis, Javed Abidi, Honorary Director of NCPEDP discussed various elements of the need for Information Accessibility.

Speaking on the occasion, Javed Abidi, Honorary Director- NCPEDP said, “Today ICT has a significant impact across different sectors of activities in all countries of the world. It is therefore essential that all segments of the population including people with disabilities have access to ICT in education, cultural activities, e-government activities, healthcare etc. The ICT application systems need to be designed and developed keeping in mind needs of people with different types of disabilities to ensure that approximately 15 percent of the world’s population (1 billion people) are not left out of this digital evolution”.

Mphasis milestone in the area of accessibility

Mphasis prides itself as the first IT solutions group to build accessible technologies and has recently announced its roadmap for ‘Digital Accessibility’. As part of the roadmap, Mphasis will come up with Comprehensive Accessibility Solutions that include maturity assessment systems, customized learning management, review services for digital assets, consulting & training services and assistive technologies. These solutions are intended to empower persons with disabilities in the digital world and enable them to access digital content, web pages, mobile applications, and use all kinds of digital assets effortlessly.

Mphasis already has a strong history of advocacy and success in accessibility; receiving the NCPEDP-Shell Helen Keller Award and President’s Award for inclusion and employment of individuals with disabilities. Mphasis found that the lack of accessible assets meant losing out on 20 percent of quality talent; over 1 percent of their employees are with disability/s.

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