Braille books yet to reach schools
Published: 2013-06-25 18:35:23.0 BdST Updated: 2013-06-25 18:41:21.0 BdST
Visually impaired students are yet to get their textbooks with half the educational calendar already past in stark contrast to a textbook-distribution fanfare that marked the first day of the year in other schools.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid had given one textbook to each of the 30 institutions teaching visually impaired children at a programme in Dhaka in April.
But this year, with six months about to pass, these children are still in the dark about their text books.
Visually impaired children need Braille books that have texts in the form of arranged dots that children read with feel and touch.
Guardians say this delay is not particularly new as there is a perennial shortage of these books.
This time, however, there was a promise of difference with National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) introducing 104 new books at the primary and secondary levels.
Worried officials blamed the board for the delay, saying the ‘soft copies’ of the new books arrived late.
Khilkhet Jan-e-Alam Government High School seventh grade student Asif Karim Patwari Rupam, a visually impaired child, told bdnews24.com he was yet to “smell the fragrance of new books”.
গত এপ্রিলে ৩০টি দৃষ্টি প্রতিবন্ধী শিক্ষাপ্রতিষ্ঠানের জন্য এক সেট করে বই বিতরণ করেন শিক্ষামন্ত্রী।
His mother Ruma Laila said she had a hard time getting two Bangali and English books. “I got them from abroad. As for the others, I am reading them out to him. This is how he is preparing for the exams.”
bdnews24.com found that there was one specialised school for visually impaired children in each of the five divisions and one integrated school in each of the 64 districts run by the Department of Social Services.
Twenty-eight of these primary schools got textbooks barring those for mathematics and religion. None of the secondary schools got any.
Private institutions are not entitled to government textbooks.
Jahangir Alam, a teacher of the Dhaka specialised school in the capital’s Khilkhet area, said his school got primary textbooks for Bangali, English and Social Science. “Maths and religion books are not ready yet, that is why we did not get them.”
The scene in Chittagong’s Muradpur government school for the visually impaired was largely similar. Some of the primary school books had arrived but there was none for the 27 secondary students.
Principal Abdul Samad sounded dejected. He told bdnews24.com that they “might get the books next year”.
Mirpur’s Baptist Mission Integrated School is one specialised school for girls in Dhaka. Its Principal, Mamata Bairagi, said many of the private schools for the visually challenged order their own Braille books.
“But now we are struggling. There are so many new books,” she said.
Nazia Hassan Mayesha, a ninth-grade student of this school, seemed frustrated. “This is happening always. I try very hard to hear what they read out and remember. But how can you memorise creative subjects?”
“Those who can see, get so many other aids other than textbooks. But we are not even provided with records (cassette player or audio-based technology).”
Rangpur’s ‘Right to Survive’ school has 50 students, but it teaches only up to only grade three.
Parvin Majumder, Coordinator of Jatiya Pratibandhi Unnayan Forum, an organisation that works with impaired children, said much the same thing. “We thought this time at least private institutions will get government textbooks.”
Savar’s Salvation Army Integrated Childrens’ Centre Resource Teacher and Trainer Zakir Hossain said mathematics was among the government primary books for the visually impaired. “There are no trained professionals in the Tongi Government Braille Press to print them.”
Tora Biswas, the school’s principal, said they were ready with money, but no books were available. “We are working twice as hard to prepare our students without books. But it is hard on the children.”
An official of the Department of Social Services said on the condition of anonymity that primary-level books had been given to integrated schools in 28 districts, but they were still working with the secondary books.
The official conceded that the board had delayed the ‘soft copies’. “That is why they are not yet ready. Producing Braille books is a complex, time-consuming process. It will take at least another two months to have these books ready.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Services Director General Nasima Begum doubted that those who missed out on the books may not have been registered. “I am looking into it. We have provided whatever was sought NCTB.”
Private institutions such as Assistants for Blind Children and Centre for Disability in Development produce and export Braille books, but they are rather costly.
A Child Sight Foundation study shows most of the visually impaired children are from the poorer classes.
CCD Coordinator Brajagopal Saha said one set of Braille books for three subjects of Grade-1 cost Tk 1,500.
Similarly, a set for Grade-2 (three subjects) costs Tk 1,550; for Grade-3 (six subjects) Tk 4,500, Grade-4 (six subjects) Tk 6,400 and Grade-5 (six subjects) Tk 7,900.
Saha said they were not given the ‘soft copy’ of the secondary books despite ‘repeated’ requests. “That is why we cannot produce them.”
You may also like
Any unauthorised use or reproduction of bdnews24.com content for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and constitutes copyright infringement liable to legal action.
- Bangladesh ace Mustafizur out of IPL's second qualifier with injury
- Nine dead after bus falls off bridge in central Bangladesh
- Hasina specifies Bangladesh’s importance through G7 Outreach Meeting in Japan: Officials
- PM Hasina talks to Obama, others on sidelines of G7 Outreach Meeting
- Bangladesh scheduled for Boxing Day tie on New Zealand tour
- Smart NID cards project stuck, EC gets reminder
- Prime Minister Hasina joins G7 Outreach Meeting in Japan
- Six Bangladeshis face terrorism financing charge in Singapore
- Amber Heard accuses estranged husband Johnny Depp of domestic violence
- PM Hasina greets Mamata on her West Bengal win with Hilshas