Why Braille Education Is So Important in India for the Visually Impaired Students?

3rd January 2023

Did you know India hosts 20% of the world's visually impaired people but the braille literacy rate in India is only 1%?

How ironic, isn’t it?

Every year on January 4th, International World Braille Day is observed to honour the birth of Louis Braille, who was born on this date in 1809.Though the Braille literacy is low around the globe but the need is not! Braille was developed by Louis Braille in the 1820s when he was an understudy at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris.

At first, social inclusion may seem a simple and straightforward idea but confirming that socially deprived individuals, are truly empowered and involved in society is far from straightforward. Thus, the social inclusion of visually impaired kids shouldn't be the only duty of the children themselves but should be stimulated by their families, their peers and their educators.

An assessed 90% of blind people live in developing countries and about 15 million of them live in India. Also, the number has already doubled since 2007. India- the second most crowded nation is home to a whopping one-third of the world’s blind. But, the braille literacy rate in India is only 1% which is far lower than the regular literacy rate of 77.7%.

This statistical data shows a big problem. Needless to say, without braille education, the quality of life for visually impaired children is pointedly reduced. Without braille literacy, they are sometimes unable to understand or use written communication. Eventually, they need an interpreter to read and write for them, which may limit their employability.

How Does Braille Education Help the Visually Impaired Students?

Braille is basically a tangible script for reading as well as writing used by visually weakened people. It is not a language but, in its place, it is a code that can be used for every language. It can also be used for scientific along with musical notation, mathematics as well as computer code.

  • Braille education helps visually impaired children and adults to increase their literacy, independence along with employability.
  • With it, they will be able to both read and write on their own.
  • Braille education is very crucial in India as till now the assistive technology is not that common. It gives a sense of independence.
  • Braille education allows visually impaired children to receive the same quality and quantity of education as their sighted peers.
  • Braille education also allows blind and partially sighted individuals to learn spelling, grammar and punctuation and increase their understanding of how text is formatted on the page.
  • Practising reading and writing braille habitually can help to improve reading speed.
  • Braille education gives them a feeling of being an inclusive member of society, ready to take on a leadership position as well as practice social skills.
braille alphabet
(Source – visionaware.org)

The interesting fact is Braille isn’t just only used to transcribe and write books alone. It is also used on signage in public spaces, such as lift key pads, door signs, on restaurant menus, and for labelling ordinary items like medications. It is also used as an available format for many documents, such as bank statements.

In fact, nowadays, number of vastly popular classic games have modified braille versions, for example Monopoly, Scrabble and Uno. LEGO has also created LEGO Braille Bricks as a full of fun way to teach braille.

To End With

To conclude, we can see what needs to be done to bring braille education to India. It is an important part of an inclusive classroom and if you also want to become a special ed teacher then special education courses will prepare you for that. It is also important to note that as an adult, choosing to learn and use braille is very much down to individual preference.

Remember, inclusion starts with all of us!

Please note, we are not a braille training institute. If you are looking for earning a special education teaching certificate then contact us at 9739615888 or send an email to act@asiancollegeofteachers.com. Happy Teaching!

Written By: Sonal Agrawal      

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