Despite lack of Braille textbooks and dearth of readers to create audio files of books, students of Government School for the Visually Challenged at Vazhuthacaud are ready to take the SSLC exam
The Government School for the Visually Challenged at Vazhuthacaud continues to face setbacks, which include not receiving Braille textbooks and dearth of readers to create audio files of books. Even so, there was no hint of panic in the voice of A. Akshay, a student of the school since Class I, who will take the SSLC examination on Monday.
He says the reason is the dedicated staff of the institution who, with their technical expertise and limited printing equipment and resources, have managed to prepare their students for the exam.
There are five students from the school who will take the examination on Monday — four are boys who will take the test at the school they moved to in Class VIII, SMV High School, and one girl will take her exam at the Cotton Hill Higher Secondary School for Girls. The school for the visually challenged takes classes for students up to Class VII and only provides hostel facilities afterward. Both Akshay and K. Ziyad enrolled at the same time here in 2004. They, along with five others, will take the test in a separate room along with scribes, who will be a student of Class VIII or IX at SMV High School.
Since dismantling of the school building is under way, power has been cut off. This, however, has not affected the enthusiasm of Akshay and Ziyad, who have relocated from the dormitory to the veranda with their Braille textbooks and Angel Pocket Readers.
For them, the Angel players have been particularly useful while revising as it enables them to bookmark certain chapters they want to revisit, read out aloud e-books and play the information stored in it through a memory card. All the audio books were created in the studio at the school, which is in need of new computers and sound guards, said studio manager S.S. Rajaneesh.
Ziyad is looking forward to taking his history exam, speaking in detail about the two World Wars and the ‘cinema-like’ quality of the lessons, indicating the grasp of the subject he has acquired through the audio books. Completely self-dependent, he travels to and from his home at Nedumangad every other weekend.
Akshay is more of an expert on economics and is able to discuss at length the State and railway budgets.
Text books yet to arrive
Principal of the school G. Thulaseedharan said the second-term textbooks had still not arrived though the academic year was drawing to a close.
“The students are resourceful and have become experts in finding information online all on their own,” he said, explaining that the government had charged the Kerala Federation of the Blind to print the books but this year, they were apparently affected by faulty machines and lack of technicians.