‘Ulloli’ sheds light into lives of visually-impaired teachers

They train others facing similar disabilities under DIET project

After the pandemic forced all classes to go online, visually-impaired teachers in government schools were found to be among the worst-hit, as most of them lacked the technical skills for digital teaching.

The District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Kozhikode, recently offered them training to sail through the crisis. According to K.M. Sofia, lecturer, DIET, around 100 visually-impaired teachers are working in various lower primary and high schools in the district. The extent of visual disability is up to 80% in most of them.

“A survey conducted by us revealed that they were not being trained properly in teaching keeping in mind their conditions. Self-confidence was found to be lacking. They have a problem being visible among others. Some of them have a feeling that they are a burden for the schools,” she said.

Ms. Sofia said, quoting the survey, that though computers were convenient for them, a majority of these teachers were using mobile phones for their academic work. “Their understanding of computer-assisted learning and teaching was found to be inadequate. These teachers were finding it difficult to interact with students through the online medium. They were not able to collect information related to their work and make documents,” she said.

DIET recently held a training session to help them deal with their problems. Titled ‘Ulloli’, the training was conceived in such a way that visually-impaired teachers themselves trained others facing similar disabilities. DIET sources said though Kerala was taking significant steps in the educational sector to help differently-abled people, those with visual impairment too should be given equal importance. The education system should change to suit their needs. Some experts who addressed the participants said other teachers should take up the responsibility to bring them forward to the mainstream of the educational sector.

Ms. Sofia said a collective of visually-impaired teachers should be formed to strengthen their academic work.

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