ICT Based Computer Training for Children with disabilities
To open the gateway to Information, Communication, and Technology for the students with visual impairment in Humla, the concept of this project has been designed and being implemented.
The ICT Training is principally designed and implemented to educate/train the blind and partially sighted students and students with physical disabilities in both basic and intermediate and practical and theoretical skills/knowledge to use the computer independently.
The first and only special ICT-based computer training for school-level students with visual impairment in Nepal has been launched by Head Nepal in Simikot Humla. The training was formally inaugurated on the 26th of August 2013 in an especial ceremony organized by Head Nepal, by uncovering the curtain on the monitor of all computers that are set up in the class and starting the screen reader and typing some words on a computer with the help of screen reader software.
Concept of ICT Based Computer Training:
As Head Nepal has been running a residential child home (hostel) for the blind and partially sighted children from different villages of Humla district since May 2012 with different special educational training and recreational activities, now we have realized the necessity of ICT training mainly based on computer skills session to educate the children in computer soft skills (theoretically) and to train the students with practical skills that will enable them to use and work on the computer even for their educational purpose.
Currently, all children with disabilities in our residential center are being trained in computer skills. Head Nepal has already been providing these children with accommodation, food along with special education, and different recreational activities. To open the gateway to Information, Communication, and Technology for the students with visual impairment in Humla, the concept of this project has been designed and being implemented.
This concept of the project, ICT training for the students with visual impairment is even more important/significant on the ground that the use of a computer with screen reader software is one of the main sources for blind persons to access information worldwide.
Purpose of the ICT Based Computer Training:
The ICT Training is principally designed and implemented to educate/train our students with disability in both basic and intermediate and practical and theoretical skills/knowledge to use the computer independently. The main purpose of this project is to make sure that the students enrolled in the hostel get tremendous opportunities to access the use of computers at a practical level. So that the students will be literate in computer education/skills.
Another important purpose of this computer training is to support the students to have better access to their class course study. This means the students also can study their coursebook on the computer and they can even prepare a note on the computer and read them when needed. As IT-based education is being remarkably important and practically very much useful for blind students worldwide, this noble project, ICT Training is conceptualized with the spirit of “accessibility is a gateway to communication and the proper communication is a gateway to information” for persons with visual impairment.
The Target Group/Beneficiary of the Project:
The direct beneficiaries of this project, ICT Training are all children with disabilities in our residential center.
The Important and Uniqueness of ICT Training for Blind Students:
Since the development of modern ICT training even for regular people in Humla has recently been introduced, right now we cannot experience such computer training or ICT development for people with disabilities in the district accept Head Nepal’s I.T. based education for the blind children in 2011.
An external speaker or headset is connected to the CPU in addition to all other external devices. In this way it is not necessary to see or look at the monitor to view what is done there, rather listen to the speech/sound carefully and perform any non-graphic works very comfortably on the computer. After launching this program, we are sure that it is exemplary and replicable for all of the other resource classes not only in the Humla district but all over Nepal.
The Objectives of the Project:
The key objective of the project, ICT Training is to equip the students with visual impairment with necessary computer skills theoretically and practically in both basic and intermediate levels in order to make them able to use a computer for multiple purposes such as for their study, entertainment, accessing information, etc. In addition to it, the followings are also some of the major objectives that are intended to be achieved during the project time-frame:
- To make the students with visual impairment literate in computer skills theoretically and practically
- To introduce different parts/devices of a computer to the students
- To enhance students ability and skills to perform multiple activities in computer to widen the level of knowledge of the students in especial computer training and supportive/assistive technologies
- To make them able to use different computer applications like Microsoft Office Package, search engines, different audio programs, etc.
- To develop their confidence in the ICT world
- To use the computer for their study as well
- To increase blind students accessibility in use of computer technology in the Humla district
Project Activities done to Achieve the objectives:
Seven sets of desktop computers with all internal and external devices along with necessary software installed were placed in the computer class in the hostel of Head Nepal until they were replaced by laptops in 2017.
Previously, Mr. Chhitup Lama used to the computer session for the students who already have special skills and knowledge on assistive devices particularly in the use of screen reader software, and able to teach the blind and partially sighted students with necessary computer skills and knowledge in both theoretical and practical level and He is also a visually impaired person and well trained in computer. Now, Mr. Dinesh Poudel, specialized teacher at HEAD residential center takes the classes. He teaches all children with disabilities on how to operate a computer and increase proficiency. He himself is fully blind and therefore well-versed with the software needed and special needs of children with visual impairment.
Several guidelines have been made by HEAD Nepal as an implementing body to make sure this training is fruitful to the children.