4. Education and Technology for blind
26th Mar, 2020
A Chronology of Educational Services for Blind in India
- 1887 – A facility for the blind was launched in Amritsar
- 1944 – Col. Sir Clutha Mackenzie played a major role in writing the GoI report on blindness.
- 1947 – A unit for visually impaired was established in the Ministry of Education
- 1951 – India adopted the uniform Braille codes for various Indian languages
- 1952 – First ever Braille printing plant of India was established in Dehradun
- 1954 – Braille appliances manufacturing unit was set up
- 1959 – Govt. set up its first school for blind children in Dehradun
- Despite remarkable contributions made by different visually impaired persons such as Soordas, Gattu Maharaj, Swami Brijanand, Swami Gangeshwarnanda e.t.c historically, India was not particular about their issues until a few decades ago.
- Blind people in India were provided education from the 19th
- Miss Annie Sharp, an Anglician was instrumental in launching a facility in Amritsar for the blind in the year 1887. It impaired basic training in bead work, reed work and reading of religious scriptures.
- Similarly, Miss Jane Askwith was an educationist herself who desired to impart good education and training to visually impair.
- Miss Millard also contributed by imparting education to the poor blind people and caring them during drought in Bombay presidency in 1900.
Problems which pre-existed during independence in schools for blind people
- Educational institutions were limited to primary level only.
- There was a lack of all India Braille code.
- Absence of Braille printing unit in the country.
- Lack of production facility even for simple equipment needed by the blind.
Initiatives taken for blind people in post-independence India
- A unit of education and rehabilitation for blind people was created in 1947 in Ministry of Education.
- India requested UNESCO for initiating actions for making a uniform Braille code across the world.
- Central Braille Press was established at Dehradun in 1952 and financial assistance was provided to four other regional Braille press by the government of India.
- Manufacturing facility for Braille appliances was setup in 1954 to provide simple equipments such as Braille slate and stylus, arithmetic boards add required types and some recreational items, needle threader e.t.c.
- With the availability of uniform Braille code, Braille press and simple equipment though in a limited measures, the number of schools for blind registered a rapid growth around the same time.
- Government setup is first school called Model School for Blind in 1959 at Dehradun.
- These types of institutions all over India went up from 115 in 1964 to 250 by 1995.
- Teachers for these special schools were also trained in large numbers.
- India launched Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) scheme to be implemented through government schools. It provided financial assistance for special teachers and equipments to these children.
Other initiatives taken by India in this fields
- India enacted the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 to give effect to the decisions taken in the Beijing meeting in 1992.
- The act provided for education in special as well as normal school and informal settings, research and resources required for the disabled among other facilities.
- Recognizing the prevailing environment, this law allowed free and universal education for the disabled up to the age of 18 years.
- Other components such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan also have components for visually impaired and differently able people.
Conclusion: Apart from different domestic obligations, India aims to fulfill different international commitments such as meeting stipulations of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNVRPD). To attain these goals and meet these targets government enacted Rights of Persons with Disablities Act, 2016.The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities. It has included persons with ‘Low Vision’ , a new category of blind people.