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Computer Skills for Every Blind Child

Teaching all blind and visually impaired learners how to work with computers before they leave school

Photo of Trust Mutekwa
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What problem does your idea solve?

If blind learners do not learn how to use computers in primary and secondary school, they hardly have a chance to learn effectively on their own or, in colleges. Blind students in colleges have a double workload in learning computer skills for research and their course modules. Braille production is not consistent. So, computers afford blind learners to access textbooks and online information. Computer skills allow blind learners to be in any school with teachers who are not braille literate.

Explain your idea

Every special school or resource unit working with blind learners should have 5 to 10 computers for lessons and practice. Even if there could be more than 40 students, the learners take turns to use the computers. Preferably, the computers should be laptops- those that work with rechargeable batteries. Wherever there could be electricity problems, the computers will be charged where the teachers charge their phones. School textbooks should be supplied in soft versions for the benefit of blind learners. Print texts can be scanned and saved in accessible versions. Teachers working with blind learners need workshops on how blind people use computers.

Who benefits?

About 90 teachers currently working in 39 special schools and resources units will get skills on how to work with blind learners in ICT. About 4500 blind learners in the 39 institutions will leave school with ICT skills. The next generations of blind learners will enjoy family life at childhood and learn at par with their sighted counterparts from their homes or choice schools- not necessarily special schools. All blind learners in college will be skilled and happy with less burdens

How is your idea unique?

We have not been teaching blind learners how to use computers. Currently, hundreds of blind learners just leave school without computer skills. I have successfully launched a computer initiative for blind learners at my school. Families will support this idea. We started our school initiative with family computers. A primary school learner went blind and remained in his old school after I taught him how to work with the computer. Awareness of potential and progress in ICT skills for blind learners is growing in the country through various media platforms. All the teachers concerned are ready to acquire ICT skills for the benefit of blind students. Blind learners will acquire ICT skills from the earliest level in education. Being skilled and experienced in ICT for the blind is a unique advantage for me. Success of this initiative is not imaginary. In less than 6 months, my primary school students acquired computer skills envied by professionals who use computers everyday.

Tell us more about you

We are 88 teachers in all the country's special schools and resource units working with blind children. We seek collaboration with partners who can provide computers for our institutions. We seek platforms that afford all of us to be equipped with appropriate ICT skills. We are ready to receive computers and skills on how to use them with our blind students. We are ready to share our skills and knowledge with colleagues in our communities as they receive blind students in their schools.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Blind people use the ordinary computer with a speech software. We want all our blind learners to have computer skills. We are correctly positioned to make this a success. If skilled primary school blind learners graduate or transfer to schools that do not have computer initiatives, we may lose the skills we have acquired in a particular school. That means, we continue to send raw products into the society. We are eagerly waiting for a day we have training in ICT skills for blind people and at least 5 laptops in all our schools. We intend to have workshops with some of our pupils attending so that the training exercises become more fruitful. We will be trained in groups that will be determined by time, venue spaces and available computers.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Zimbabwe

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are not formally registered but are a formal initiative through a school / university.

Idea Maturity

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

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