1,000 visually-impaired students to get free laptops

In a move to encourage visually-impaired students to opt for higher education, the State government has decided to distribute laptops free of cost to such students of government, aided and unaided educational institutions in the State.

In the first phase, laptops equipped with screen readers would be given to 1,000 students of Class 10 and above, including arts, science, engineering and other courses. Each laptop costs Rs. 40,000 and they are equipped with screen readers with a voice that synthesises keyboard commands into human-sounding speech. The most popular screen-access programme is JAWS for Windows, officials said. “JAWS provides key command equivalents to mouse functions to enable students to navigate their laptops, read documents and browse the internet.

The scheme would cost the government Rs. 4 crore. An order on distribution of laptops would be issued soon, officials in the Department for the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens told The Hindu on Saturday. Family income is not a criterion for selection of students.

A beneficiaries’ list would be prepared based on the names of students recommended by principals of the colleges and headmasters of schools. Deputy Directors of the department in each district will scrutinise the names and submit them to the Director of the department, said officials.

A total 13.24 lakh persons are living with seven types of disabilities in Karnataka as per the 2011Census. Only those who have more than 40 per cent disability are eligible for scholarships and other subsidy benefits.

There are 2.64 lakh visually-impaired persons in Karnataka. About 2,000 visually-impaired students are studying in various government schools, colleges, aided colleges and private colleges, officials said.

The government has been running special schools for the visually impaired in Gulbarga, Mysore, Davangere and Hubli in which there are 151 students.

How they fared

A total of 225 visually-impaired students scored more than 60 per cent in the 2014 SSLC examinations. Of them, 31 passed with distinction, and seven scored between 90 and 95 per cent.

A total of 708 SSLC students with various disabilities scored more than 60 per cent in 2014.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 7:47:39 AM |

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