'Visually Impaired Teachers as Capable as Sighted Ones'
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29 June 2010
By Laxmi Birajdar
An audio–visual presentation on Chhatrapati Shivaji by a visually impaired teacher and his team had students from two schools hooked onto the unique session at the Modern English Medium School on Monday afternoon. The session was conducted to disprove the popular notion that visually impaired teachers cannot teach effectively.
Satish Navale, a visually impaired teacher who spearheads the Braille Web Radio at the University of Pune (UoP), conducted the teaching session for Std VIII students of Modern school and Kalawati Kotwal Vidyalaya in Hadapsar using computers and mobile phones.
Assisted by Rajendra Chavan, another visually impaired teacher who teaches Marathi in Mumbai, Navale and team simplified the sights and sounds for the children and made them answer questions related to youth, courage and human values by taking Chhatrapati Shivaji’s example.
“There is a government quota for employment of visually impaired teachers. A general resolution of the state government reiterates such employment for teachers like me. However, advertisements for recruiting visually impaired teachers often ignore fully blind teachers. The fact is, such teachers are as knowledgeable as sighted teachers. And today’s session was conducted to prove this point,” said Navale.
Skilled in the art of storytelling and usage of the audiovisual medium and with sound knowledge of their subjects, partially and fully blind teachers are equipped to teach in schools and colleges, he added.
Vijay Kadam, a partially impaired teacher at Ahmednagar College who attended the session, said, “Despite the government provision, there are very few visually impaired teachers holding jobs in schools and colleges.”
“We only request schools and colleges to test our teaching abilities and give us employment. We can prove ourselves,” said Chavan. Monday’s session was one step ahead of the existing educational system, said Pandit Vidyasagar, a faculty member at UoP. “Teaching students of two different schools through the audio–visual medium just proves that visually impaired teachers are as capable as sighted teachers,” he added.