We at Score Foundation are on the verge of launching Eyeway, the single stop knowledge resource on life with blindness in the State of Orissa.
Towards this end, we have conducted 4 two day workshops at Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Chandbani and Sambalpur. An average of 20 blind boys and girls attended these workshops where in we were focusing on goal setting, communication skills and the legal provisions.
These workshops were major eye openers for us. We were amazed at the extreme low levels of knowledge amongst the participants.
Orissa has 18 blind schools that are aided by the Govt and 2 blind schools run by the Govt. Surprise! surprise! None of them have trained teachers. The English teacher can hardly speak English while the craft teacher was teaching Maths.
When the students move into the Universities, they are lagging far behind in comparison to their sighted peers. Besides none of the Universities have accessible study materials and the libraries are inaccessible.
The powers that be in the beaurocracy, academia and in the area of rehabilitation are not aware of adaptive technologies or for that matter they do not understand the potential of blind persons.
What the State really needs are
1. Mainstream schools that are inclusive.
2. Investment in teacher training.
3. Ushering the various adaptive technologie.
4. Establishing computer training centres.
5. Teaching of English and Hindi alongside Oriya.
Mindsets need to be opened and opportunities need to be created .
Do you think teacher training, computer education and ushering in of technologies are the way to move forward?