PALPA, Dec 8: Kavita Baral of Ratnanagar Municipality-9, Chitwan, is a visually-impaired student who just completed her Secondary Education Examination (SEE). She has been studying with the help of the braille system. While Baral feels greatly relived for having completed her SEE, she is worried that she hasn't been able to do well in Maths and Science subjects in her further studies as the subjects are not braille-friendly.
The long calculations in mathematics and the need to draw figures in science pose big hurdles to the visually-impaired students using the braille system.
A total of 27 visually-impaired students study at Damkada High School of Tansen Municipality-9 where Baral also studies. The students are from Palpa, Syangja, Arghakhanchi, Chitwan, Bajura, Gulmi, Rupandehi and Nawalpur districts. The school has been offering free education and free hostel to blind students since 1995.One such student, ninth grader Sita Kumal of Palpa, said mathematics and science are the toughest subjects for her. “Questions asking us to draw figures and provide descriptions are the hardest ones for us. Even partially blind students have to work very hard,” she said.Krishna Prasad Parajuli is a teacher at the school. Parajuli, himself a visually-impaired person, said he finds it difficult to teach maths and science subjects.“In the first place, it is very difficult for me to explain the concepts. It is also difficult to give exams on those subjects,” he said. “Although blind students can use aides in exams, it could be challenging in Nepali exam. Blind students could fail even if their aides do not use proper punctuation and make spelling errors due to the nature of the script.”
Parajuli feels that there is a big discrimination in competition between those who are able to see and those who are unable. He said there is the need for a separate curriculum and extra-curricular activities specifically designed for visually-impaired students.