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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Delhi University is helping the visually-challenged students with 'mobility and accessibility' kits, that includes smart canes and DAISY players. This would help the students to move around smoothly on campus.

"DU has joined hands with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to provide mobility and accessibility kits to the varsity's visually-challenged students enrolled," said Anil Aneja, Officer on Special Duty at DU's Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC).

"The kit will consist of smart canes and DAISY players. While the smart canes will help the students to have hassle-free mobility on campus, the DAISY players will make their studies easier," he said.

The services of the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehradun, were roped in by the authorities of Delhi University.

"While funds for the initiative have been provided by the ministry, the contents of the kit have been developed by NIVH. There is also a plan to include special tablets designed for the visually-challenged in the kits, but that will be worked out in the second phase," Aneja said.

Each kit costs around Rs 11,000.

While the canes carries the ability to give vibration warnings to the students whenever there is any obstruction within a certain range, the DAISY player, which is a book-reading machine, will be able to help them in comfortably going through texts.

"Though the distribution of these kits will begin by the end of this month, from the coming session, we plan that the kits are handed over to the students during the freshers' orientation programme," added Aneja.

The students will not be bound to return the kits to the varsity when they pass out, he said.

DU had earlier also installed a special technology which can scan books and transcribe text to speech in all its libraries, a move which the varsity claims is a first-of-its- kind initiative for visually-challenged students by an Indian university.

The technology installed last year is known as 'Inclusive Print Access Project' and is a combination of softwares which have been imported from abroad to suit the needs of the visually-challenged students.

The DU Equal Opportunity Cell was established in 2006 to address the needs and issues related to physically-challenged, SC/ST, OBC and minority students.

DU allows for a 5 per cent relaxation in eligibility criteria with respect to differently-abled students.

A Braille library and an Audio Book Resource Centre are among the facilities introduced by the university for its differently-abled students.



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