[fosscomm] Jaws Screen Reading software to be used by Bangalore University for visually impaired students
krmane at gmail.com
Sun Sep 25 23:41:28 PDT 2011
This is a serious issue.
If not completely FOSS, I think some one needs to make the university
aware that there is a windows based FOSS alternative called NVDA.
JAWS is the most dangerous move because then blind people will be
addicted to one brand and will have to stay with the limitations which
that software will force on them.
Besides the public money will be waisted. It could be otherwise be used
for better projects for the betterment of visually disabled people.
JAWS is very costly and except Hindi no other indian language is available.
Orca and NVDA has Kanada, malayalam and Hindi with the latter working
On 26/09/11 11:55, Vickram Crishna wrote:
> Can people with contact to Bangalore University (which in turn is doubtless
> filled with busy people tasked with a name change) find out by what process
> this decision was made? Was there an attempt to publicly source alternate
> If audio cassettes were distributed, has there been any attempt to source
> DAISY compatible digifiles, or to create relevant source material using
> DAISY? Are the Trustees of Bangalore University aware that the GoI has
> signed a global commitment to ensuring digital access for persons with
> disabilities (by 2012, as I understand it, so as good as already in the
> dustbin), and that this is not Somebody Else's Problem, it is a problem for
> all of us to work to solve together? Simply showing up at IGF will not sort
> out issues such as this (OT - and maybe nothing else either).
> Just fyi, contributors to WIkipedia have developed apps for visually
> impaired persons to access (read and edit, and this is not trivial) in
> Malayalam. Work is on to extend this to other languages - in fact, it may
> already have been done for some other languages. Of course, browser access
> is not the same as screen reading, and I am reasonably well aware of the
> differences, but it is a big deal.
> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:54 AM, Krittika<krittika at itforchange.net> wrote:
>> Bangalore University reached out to 150 visually impaired students from 25
>> of its affiliated colleges on Saturday by way of distributing free Braille
>> textbooks and audio cassettes to them. The beneficiaries appreciated the
>> move because all these years they had to depend on volunteers who would read
>> out the textbooks for them. Some of them would travel long distances to take
>> the help of non-governmental organisations which would format the reading
>> material using Braille for them.
>> Besides distributing Braille textbooks, Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev
>> announced steps they would initiate to encourage more number of visually
>> impaired students to pursue their studies in the university.
>> *The university will start a computer training and resource centre in
>> December. Under the project, computer training will be imparted free of cost
>> to the visually impaired students. JAWS Screen Reading software will be used
>> for the purpose. Once trained, students will be able to work on the Internet
>> and also use MS Office. *
>> The other initiatives include establishing a help desk for the visually
>> impaired besides starting an electronic reading centre equipped with
>> text-reading machines, screen magnification software and video magnifying
>> units, and a Braille book production centre. .
>> “In the next phase, we will have a career counselling and job placement
>> unit as well as distance education centre for the visually impaired,”
>> according to Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev.
>> Mr. Prabhu Dev said that the soft copy of the Braille books were made
>> (mostly) by the Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society (each page of the
>> master copy costs Rs. 25), while the hard copies were processed by the All
>> India Confederation of the Blind, New Delhi.
>> Each textbook has been printed in two or three volumes. Bangalore
>> University funded the entire project. Students like Shilpa. S was both
>> delighted and relieved. Ms. Shilpa, a second-year B.Com student who scored
>> 74 per cent in her second semester, said Braille meant independence. “In my
>> first semester, I was in tears as I got my study material a week before my
>> exams. Thanks to my lecturer (Prasanna Udipikar, who is also the convenor of
>> Bangalore University's Braille Resource Centre), who recorded the material,
>> I managed to pass. ”
>> Susheel Kumar, who is pursuing MA in Sociology, reiterated Ms. Shilpa's
>> views. “Life is much easier for us now as we will find the Braille books in
>> our library,” he said.
>> *Krittika Vishwanath*
>> Research Associate
>> IT for Change
>> In special consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC
>> Skype id: krittika85
>> Tel:+91-80-2665 4134, 2653 6890. Fax:+91-80-4146 1055
>> Mobile: +91 9535321980
>> Read our Teacher's Communities of Learning project's blogs, lesson
>> plans and discussions here: http://bangalore.karnatakaeducation.org.in/
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