Now, Braille text for open book exams

The Central Board of Secondary Education will transcribe ‘open book test’ material into Braille for making its latest innovation friendly for visually challenged students in the capital.

The board took up the matter after Deccan Herald reported that visually challenged students do not have the open book text material in Braille format in November. 

The board’s first reaction was that it does not even provide textbooks for handicap students. “Since there aren’t many visually challenged students enrolled in CBSE schools in the city, a few kids will be taking open book exam this time. So the board decided to provide them with printed Braille material now,” CBSE Education Officer Sugandh Sharma said.

On how many copies have been ordered by the CBSE, she said, “The board had a word with an agency that convert text into Braille.”

However, CBSE said no school or teacher has approached them in this regard. “We would have taken it up much earlier had any school or teacher approached the board,” she said. 

CBSE Joint Director Ram Shankar said the board has started the process of converting reading material on the new system into Braille. “Providing visually challenged kids with Braille content will help them understand the new concept better. It is for their welfare and we don’t want to delay it.”

Transcribing an A4 size text sheet costs a paltry Rs 5. “An A4 size printed sheet is equal to two-and-a-half A4 sheets transcribed into Braille,” Braille literacy consultant Nirmal Verma said. 

“There is a software that converts any text into Braille. After converting the text into Braille, it is fed into the Braille printer and print-outs are taken,” Verma added. The master copy is charged Rs 30 per page; after that it is Rs 2 per (Braille) page, he said. 

In November, ushering in a new era in the examination system, the CBSE issued notices to schools across the country to implement ‘open book’ section for classes 9 and 11 final exams starting March 2014.

For class 9, the open book examination will be applicable to all main subjects, including English, Hindi, Mathematics, Science and Social Science. For class 11, it will be conducted for Economics, Biology and Geography.

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