Braille Day: Challenges and Opportunities for UPSC candidates
World Braille Day (Jan 4th)
Every year on January 4th, Louis Braille’s birthday is celebrated as the World Braille Day. He’s the inventor of braille technique. Louis, born in France became blind after a childhood accident. But, he quickly mastered his new way of living. He created a reading and writing system based on Charles Barbier’s night writing system.
Did you know?
Visually impaired candidates appearing for civil services preliminary examination will get 40 minutes extra time per paper.
As per, Press Information Bureau (PIB) news article,
Recruitment of Visually Impaired Persons in the Civil Services is governed by “The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. As per Section 33 of the said Act, it is incumbent upon the Government to appoint in every establishment such percentage of vacancies not less than 3% for persons or class of persons with disability in the posts identified for each of the following disabilities: –
(i) Blindness or low vision
(ii) Hearing Impairment, and
(iii) Locomotor Disability or Cerebral Palsy
Resources for Preparation:
To benefit the Visually impaired students,
Most of the NCERT books are available in the audio format. some of the other books available on audio formats are Polity by M. lakshmikanth etc.
However, Software such as called Job Access with Speech (JAWS), a computer screen reader program that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or with a refreshable Braille Display. This software however, can read only printed material and not handwritten ones. Other software including Kurzweil, Abby fine reader are also beneficial.
The audio books are available absolutely free on this website run by Akella Raghavendra foundation: http://online-ias.com/ and can be accessed through simple registration. Off late, YouTube also has become a major source of information for these students.
Challenges still persist:
1. Absence of a single source of study material in their preferred format- Braille
2. Disabled-friendly transport: Disabled-friendly transport/infrastructure is still a long shot especially in India.
3. Professional scribe to write the exam is still a major concern.
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