On World Braille Day, visually impaired educators and activist shared that the shutdown has hindered Braille education. Despite the importance of developing tactile skills in children, the lack of accessibility to Braille books and issues with online education has led to a decrease in Braille education in the city.
Owing to these factors, many have taken instead to specialising in e-readers for reading and writing skills. According to K Raghuraman, co-ordinator of the NGO Karna Vidya Foundation that teaches the visually impaired technical and computer skills, this is due to the increased accessibility they provide to essential services, resources, and communication applications.
However, special educators and activists believe that Braille cannot be replaced and is essential for the visually impaired. “There is a misconception that Braille education must be a part of an age-based curriculum. Rather, e-readers and Braille can be used in tandem on a child-by-child basis to help them improve literacy. Braille is essential for tactile learning, and it cannot be replaced by any other medium, rather, it can be another tool for the visually impaired,” said Raghuraman.
In an effort to showcase Braille learning during the shutdown, the National Association for the Blind, Tamil Nadu branch, would be hosting an online event highlighting the importance of Braille on World Braille Day. Children who have learnt Braille through online education will demonstrate their skills at the event.