IT aid for the visually-impaired


BY GAVIN GOMEZ

SM PENDIDIKAN Khas in Setapak, Selangor, was given a facelift recently as its computer lab and equipment were upgraded with the latest technology available to help visually-impaired students. 

The RM95,000 contribution was part of Citigroup Malaysia’s Cyberschool Education programme. 

“This is in line with the Government’s effort to ensure that computer literacy within the school system is achieved,” said the group’s country officer, Piyush Gupta. 

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, who opened the new lab, was touched when he saw students from the school typing and drawing using the technology given to them. 

“This is what education is about – providing access to education to everyone,” he said. 

The lab has 15 computers, peripherals, special software and equipment to help the students learn and operate common applications, including software for screen reading, Braille translation, the production of Braille text materials and access to the Internet. 

The school, with over 100 visually-impaired students (blind and low-vision), is the only national secondary school to provide full-boarding facilities for its students. 

Siti Nurjannah, 16, said she was happy to have learned to use the computer and was looking forward to e-mailing her friends. 

“I just learned to use the computer earlier this year and am now able to use Microsoft Word rather easily. I am not an expert but am competent enough,” she added. 

Abdul Aziz said he was glad that corporate citizens, such as Citigroup, had come forward to assist the school. “The Education Ministry would love to see more companies embarking on a similar venture to help our children.” 

So far, five schools have benefited from Citigroup’s Cyberschool programme. The others are SM Sepang, Selangor, SM Sultanah Asma, Kedah, SM Tunku Abdul Malik, Kedah, and SM Sultan Abdul Jalil, Johor. 

SM Pendidikan Khas principal Noor Ainun Datuk Seri Yang Rashdi said with the new equipment “both students and teachers can now transcribe their textbooks, articles and even past exam papers into Braille text with ease, instead of the painstaking and time-consuming task of doing it manually.“ 

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