Hiral Dave, Indian Express; Rajkot, Gujarat
Ten blind schools across Gujarat State now impart distance learning to students with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation's (I.S.R.O.) project.
In October 2005, eyeNews had reported on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Edusat project in Gujarat <link to: http://www.eyeway.org/inform/news/newspage.php?id=19> that gave visually impaired people a chance to access the latest information.
The good news is that this system has got into wider usage. This modern technology involving satellite and digital equipment enabled over 2,000 students at 10 blind schools across Gujarat to revise subjects such as mathematics, science, Hindi and social studies before their Board examinations.
Naran Patel, student of Andhjan Vividhlaxi Vidhyalaya, Jamnagar explained that although the courses had been completed at the schools, audio conference enabled them to take the help of experts for their final preparation.
"We came prepared with doubts. During the conference, we cleared them through discussion with the teacher at the other end using a phone line," said Ibjust Rajpura.
Since the broadcasting on the 188 KU band of Edusat started more than two months ago, there have been lectures, interviews and discussions on a daily basis for visually impaired students. While on regular days the topics vary from general knowledge to literature, when exams were approaching the students are given guidance for their Board subjects.
Mr. Ranchod Soni, project coordinator and an English teacher with B.P.A., Ahmedabad said: "Experts in every subject are not available everywhere. The satellite link-up has enabled us to bring together different experts and students with visual impairment."
According to Mr. Bhargav Thakkar, Director of Development and Education Communication at I.S.R.O. (Ahmedabad), this is the first project of its kind globally where satellite technology has been used to impart education to visually impaired students.
Gujarat is the only state in India which can boast of this system. I.S.R.O. has been planning to extend the network to other states in as well.