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Brains & Braille way to excel in academics

- Ravenshaw to introduce textbooks for visually-impaired students

Cuttack, Dec. 28: Ravenshaw University authorities here are planning to provide textbooks in Braille and state-of-the-art technology to visually-challenged students to help them learn without hindrance.

At present, the varsity has 45 such students, who face problems with the curriculum for the want of Braille books.

They spend hours in the library to read their classroom lessons using a special software.

Officials have, therefore, decided to install two high-end computers in two hostels equipped with latest software that can convert text into audio.

This is expected to assist the students to easily read, type and use the Internet.

“There is an acute dearth of books in Braille format. We can study in the library only till evening.

“The decision of authorities to provide computers at our hostel will certainly help us,” said Bishnu Mallick, a visually-challenged student pursuing postgraduation in political science.

As of now, the software has been installed in only six computers at the library.

“But soon, two additional computers will be provided in both the boys’ and girls’ hostels so that they can access their text books at any time they want,” said Priyabrat Majhi, coordinator for differently-abled students at Ravenshaw.

He said the district administration has agreed to provide two additional software, Braille printers, headphones and tables.

“These will be of great assistance to our effort in providing better facilities to the students,” said Majhi.

Earlier, the university authorities had initiated steps for a “barrier free” campus for physically-challenged students.

Special ramps were designed in all the buildings including the heritage building of the varsity to ensure that the differently-abled students do not face problems in accessing classrooms and other areas.

Vice-chancellor B.C. Tripathy said efforts were on to provide adequate facilities to the differently-abled students to help them excel in academics.

“We have written to the state government for a 200-bed hostel for students belonging to other backward classes as well as SC and ST communities, which will help overcome the lack of hostel facilities for both girls and boys on campus,” said Tripathy.

Of the 6,500 students studying at Ravenshaw, University, nearly 300 of them suffer from various disabilities.

Ravenshaw is also planning to constitute an “equal opportunities” cell to address grievances of students with disabilities as well as those belonging to disadvantaged sections.