Textbooks for visually impaired school students should be published by the education ministry in 2017, not by the social welfare ministry, a training session was told yesterday.
"The day for charity has ended," said Vaskar Bhattacharjee, national consultant of web accessibility, Access to Information (a2i) Programme at Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
He said education being a universal right, study materials for persons with disabilities should be supplied by the education ministry.
A 14-day training programme started at the Teachers' Training College in the capital for 25 visually impaired teachers of government primary and secondary schools of the country. They will learn basic computing and use of multimedia like creating power point presentations.
Noting that visually impaired students often did not receive the recent edition of textbooks, Prof Faruque Ahmed, senior consultant of a2i Programme, said the changes made in the textbooks of class IV and V this year were not updated in the Braille versions.
"How would the visually impaired children of these classes sit for the Primary School Certificate (PSC) exams then?" he asked.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, chief guest at the programme, said his ministry would be able to publish those books if they got the school-wise and class-wise data on the number of visually impaired students.
Unmay Tanzila Chowdhury Munia, teacher of Mohsena Model Government Primary School in Chittagong's Patiya, said a smart phone or a laptop for each teacher would help them apply the training knowledge and deliver classes.
The teachers will also receive training on Digital Accessible Information System (Daisy), through which print books are converted into digital talking books for blind people. "For the first time in Bangladesh all text books from Class I to X have been converted to Daisy form," said Vaskar.
"It is unfortunate that we do not know how many of the 54 persons with disabilities, recruited as teachers in 2010 in secondary and high schools, are currently working and what their conditions are," said Fahima Khatun, director general of DSHE, adding that a separate cell would be formed to look into the grievances of visually impaired teachers.