AP to get engineering college for blind

Asia's first

Asia’s first engineering college for the blind is proposed to be set up near Hyderabad.  The novel initiative has been undertaken by the city-based Devnar Foundation for the Blind with help from professors at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, in developing the course material.

 The Devnar Foundation, which runs a school and a junior college for the visually impaired children, has developed a digital library using indigenously developed software by downloading the textbooks and general knowledge books material onto a CD with MP3 format.

 “We are ready with the syllabus. The government has positively responded to our request for allotment of about two to three acres of land. We also have donors ready to help and also the faculty to teach,” said foundation chairman A Saibaba Goud. An ophthalmologist-philanthropist, Goud started the Devnar Foundation in 1991 to impart education and vocational skills to the visually impaired children. The organisation has won wide acclaim and several national awards for its work.

 Eight students from Devnar School went on to complete engineering from the mainstream engineering colleges and one of them doing further studies in Boston, USA. This prompted Goud to set up the engineering college for the visually challenged.
Despite having the highest number of engineering colleges in the country, none of the 700 institutions in Andhra Pradesh customised the courses to accommodate the needs of the visually impaired.

“Many students are enthusiastic and eager to study after intermediate but they have Problems in mainstream colleges,” the foundation chairman said. Devnar School for Blind has been offering English medium education from the primary school up to 12th standard.   

“It is a long-cherished dream for us to provide a right platform for the visually impaired students to pursue professional courses,” he said.

“We have applied to the BITS, Pilani, and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, for affiliation. We are planning to restrict the intake to 40-50 students per year and select them strictly on merit,” Goud said.

Students at Devnar School are taught how to operate computers from sixth standard and they become proficient enough to handle computer and browse the Internet by the time they reach ninth standard.

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