Accessibility July 30, 2019
Braille Research Centre in Bangalore University is gearing up to go digital
Braille Research Centre in Bangalore University is all set to go digital by introducing audio recordings of all their books including professional training books. Now more visually impaired people can access the centre and avail facilities that are offered there.
For people with disabilities, digitalisation has made many things available at their fingertips. Take the Braille Research Centre (BRC) at Bangalore University, which is all set to go digital. Reportedly, the BRC will not have any more books in Braille as they are gearing up to introduce computer-based audio classes.
The aim is to enable more visually impaired people to access higher education. But the announcement has met with mixed responses.
The BRC has a plethora of books. This facility is the only library in Bengaluru that so many books in Braille all under one roof. By introducing audio modules, the goal is to make learning faster and easier.
Maitreya Shah, a visually impaired law student in Ahmedabad, hopes more universities will follow suit.
This is a great initiative. I really think this will help because it is high time we move on from conventional Braille system to more enhanced technology enabled facilities and solutions. I feel this has to be done by every institution in the country. – Maitreya Shah, Law student
The faculty will read out all the books and record them simultaneously. These recordings will be provided free of cost and this will be made available even to those who are not students at the university. The recordings can be taken home on pen drive as well.
Currently, the faculty have produced audio classes for courses in B.A. second year in the subjects of History and English. More are planned. The BRC is tying up with teachers and other experts to begin the audio facilities soon.
With such technological advancements in place, education is going to become more accessible to visually impaired people. But there are concerns that such steps will undermine the relevance of Braille as a language.
Madhu Singhal, Founder, NGO Mitra Jyoti, that works with visually impaired people in Bengaluru, says that keeping aside Braille is going to affect this a remarkable mode of communication. Madhu, who is visually impaired, runs a library with Braille books. She believes each person must have the right to choose what they want and audio recordings should not be forced on anyone.
“Every person has the right to choose how they want to learn new things. I know a lot of visually impaired people who still prefer Braille over audio recordings”. Madhu also believes that Braille will never lose its relevance. “It has always been here and will remain to be here because until a few decades back, Braille was the only means of communication for people from the visually impaired community”.
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