Visually-impaired students to get textbooks in CD form soon

Kathmandu, October 3:

With an aim to end the prevailing dearth of textbooks for the visually-impaired students, the DAISY for Nepal Programme (DAISY NP) is producing almost all of the textbooks from Intermediate to Masters level course in CD-ROM technology. The system is known as DAISY — the Digital Accessible Information System — in which visually-impaired students could get a whole book of 500 pages in an audio CD at merely Rs 15.

Currently, books in Braille scripts are available in selected texts and are limited in number; hence, students have to record their textbooks in audio cassette on their own which is very tedious and a time-consuming process. However, after recording the textbooks in DAISY technology, students can copy the needed books in CD from the office of DAISY NP free of cost, merely paying Rs 15 for a blank CD.

In the DAISY technology, a CD will replace 35 audio cassettes or 18-20 kilos of Braille books. About 300 textbooks from Intermediate to Masters level courses in Humanities and Education stream will be designed in the DAISY system by the DAISY NP along with the Nepal Association of the Blind (NAB) and Nepal Association for the Welfare of the Blind (NAWB).

Birendra Raj Pokharel, coordinator of the DAISY NP, told this daily that the production of the books in the DAISY system will be commenced from this November surveying the need and demand of the visually-impaired students. It could be played on computer, DAISY playback machine and the ordinary MP3 player. “We are providing 60 per cent subsidy for the students while purchasing the MP3 player, freely distributing the player for 150 students initially and 20 DAISY playback machines for college libraries,” Pokharel said.

Prasamsa Chhetri, a visually-impaired student of the PK Campus, said due to the lack of proper text, visually-impaired students have failed to progress academically.