Sunday, Dec 28, 2003
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He called for an integrated approach to tackle the problem. As a first step, Mr. Shah said teaching for the blind had to move away from the traditional system implemented in special schools to a more technology-based system that could be applied even in regular schools.
``Only then can the visually impaired become more productive citizens,'' he said at the inauguration of the Tamil Nadu chapter of Vidya Vrikshah's `The National Initiative for the Blind.' The initiative has already been launched in Sikkim and will soon be launched in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
To expand the avenues available to the visually impaired to learn Braille, Vidya Vrikshah has developed a miniature Braille cube, the `Vasantha Cube.' Any literate person can learn Braille in a short time with the ready reckoner and teach it to their child at home, said N. Krishnaswamy, managing trustee, Vidya Vrikshah.
Class text and reading material in local languages could also be converted to Braille using a special software developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, which when printed out using a Braille printer would be of great assistance to the visually impaired, added Mr. Krishnaswamy.
At the high school level, he said visually impaired students could make use of the voice activate system. ``This will prepare them for a job.'' Vidya Vrikshah is also developing a web site that will convert voice text into Braille in a selected local language, he said.
M. Anandakrishnan, Chairman, Madras Institute of Development Studies, said the State Government should incorporate the goals of the `National Initiative for the Blind' in its State policy.
The voice activated system should become a part of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan as it promotes literacy. ``The software has far reaching applications,'' he said inaugurating the event.
Hailing the national initiative as `revolutionary' the Governor, P.S. Ramamohan Rao, said he would present the information to authorities concerned in Government of India to see whether they could provide continuous and complete support to the project.
Vidya Vriskshah is holding an exhibition of aids for the visually impaired at the P.S. Higher Secondary School, Chennai, tomorrow.
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