India File

From madrasa to blind school, Internet makes life easier

Venkatesh Ganesh | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 04, 2017

Virtually empowered: A visually and physically challenged studentat the Balagangadharanatha Swamiji Blind Residential School inRamanagar, Karnataka Photo: GRN SOMASHEKAR   -  G R N SOMASHEKAR

In Bidadi, students enjoy the perk as telcos ramp up their broadband play



At Moosa Haroon Masjid and Madrasa in Bidadi, about an hour’s drive from Bengaluru, teachers use an iPad, along with internet connectivity, powered by Reliance Jio WiFi device to teach its 70-odd students.

“We have realised that the internet can benefit students, provided they are used in a proper manner,” said Rizwan Ahmed, manager of the Madrasa. As a result of this, students who are taught religious-centric education, along with Maths, Science and other subjects can ask teachers for an audio-visual demonstration of the nitty-gritty of wave theory or bring to life dull Algebraic equations.

Around 18 km from the Islamic college, off the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway is Balagangadharanatha Swamiji Blind Residential School, run by Sri Adichunchanagiri Shikshana Trust. The trust runs a school for the blind.

There are a total of 170 students, some of whom are also physically challenged. But the physical limitation has in no way hampered their mental faculties. Instead, one can sense a burning ambition to learn.

Nikhil, a student is interested in building an app that can help fellow blind people with health-related information such as blood pressure levels or sleep monitoring.

He, along with others throng the computer centre, which resembles a small cyber cafe, surf through different websites, which read out to them in English or Kannada.

Ease of learning

The effort seems to be on learning to use the machines. There are eight such machines, out of which four are desktops with in-built CPU's, all of which have been donated by NGOs.

The Internet connection provided by BSNL and some local providers are patchy, say the school personnel. But even this patchy internet is gobbled up by the students. “They access information on the things they learn and the Internet helps in understanding concepts better,” says P Shivaramu, Principal of the school.

Learning skills

The Internet is also helping these blind students from not losing out when syllabus changes, as was done this year by the Karnataka Government. “In the past we had to send it to the Braille printer to get it printed, look at corrections, all of which would take time and as a result students lost six-eight months,” he says. With the Internet, one just needs to download the course material and send it to the Braille printer.

Internet is also used to learn Yoga, prayers as well as upgrade their skills. Software such as free open source-based Non Visual Desktop Access help them to use the PCs. All this has resulted in exemplary performance.Shivaramu points out that in the 10th exam results, all students passed with distinction and the topper got 92 per cent.

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Published on July 04, 2017
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