Project to aid visually challenged students

Until a few days ago, Arjun and Althaf, Class X students of SMV School here, had been finding it difficult to learn their daily lessons. Unlike other students of their class who had no problem following the textbooks as per the revised syllabus, visually impaired Arjun and Althaf who have not yet received the Braille texts had been struggling to keep up with their friends.

“Not any more,” said the boys showing the audio CD packs which had the recordings of all the lessons for their coming examinations.

The staff members of the Government School for Blind, Vazhuthacaud, have brought out a set of audio CDs based on the new tenth standard text books, under the government-funded ICT project.

Director of Public Instruction A. Shajahan handed over the first set of learning materials to the visually impaired students of the Government Higher Secondary School for Girls, Cotton Hill, and S.M.V School at a function held at the Government School for Blind, Vazhuthacaud, on Tuesday.

He also presented Braille calendars, brought out by the school under the ICT project, to the former students of the Government School for Blind. “We previously had to depend on our teachers and could not study at all times. But now we are able to listen to the recordings at any time. We also enjoy a few novels that were made into the audio format,” said Arjun who was given the CDs for trial before its official release.

The ICT project, launched in June 2009 under the sponsorship of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), imparts computer training to the visually challenged students. Through this project, later taken up by the government, CDs of various text books, music notes and novels were produced and distributed to the visually impaired students in many schools in the State. Staff of the Government School for Blind, students from Government Women's College and many volunteers were involved in bringing out science, Malayalam and social science text books of tenth standard into audio formats.

S.S. Rajaneesh, computer instructor of ICT project said that currently they were in need of volunteers who could read out the text books. “Lab facilities are very limited at the school. The recording and editing is done in a studio inside the school's computer lab. Sound proof recording is a major problem which can affect the quality of the recordings,” said Elizabeth Tom, who has been involved in the project for the last one year.