Knowledge Resources for Visually Impaired Persons: An Indian Perspective

By Khowaja, Sufia; Fatima, Nishat | Library Philosophy and Practice, January 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Knowledge Resources for Visually Impaired Persons: An Indian Perspective


Khowaja, Sufia, Fatima, Nishat, Library Philosophy and Practice


1.Introduction

In the existing period, knowledge is considered the key resource for every individual in each corner of the globe; as a result its proper management in the libraries for real time delivery and use is must. As far as the academic libraries are concerned, their success relies on the ability in utilizing the knowledge of their staff to better serve the needs of the academic community for enrichment in the teaching and learning process (Wawire and Messah, 2010). Library being service institution has to look upon all the users' need, no matter which category they belong to. One of the special groups among all others is of visually impaired persons, visually impaired in a real sense is a broad term which is used widely in an educational context for the persons those who are having difficulty in seeing regardless of the nature of their impairment. According to Friend (2009), "Visually impaired is a term which is used to describe the people who are partially-sighted or completely blind". World Health Organisation (WHO, 2018) estimated that globally people with some sort of vision impairment are 1.3 billion and with mild vision impairment reach approximately up to 188.5 million. The estimate of people with ordinary to acute vision impairment is about 217, nearly 36 million people are completely blind and 826 million are with near vision impairment. It was also stated that mostly people with vision impairment are above the age of 50 years. However, around 80% of total vision impairment is considered as avoidable or curable.1 Visual impairment imposes certain injustice demands which continuously influence the personality of the visually impaired persons. These persons suffers from number of disadvantages, deprivation is one of them. Blind persons are condoled with rather than loved and cared (Chaturvedi, 2002). Keeping the importance of this user community into consideration the present study is undertaken to investigate the knowledge resources being provided to visually impaired persons by the central universities of India.

2.National Scenario

Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Education (2005) in its „Action Plan for Inclusive Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities" has mentioned its goal as "Recognizing Education for All children as a fundamental right, to ensure the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in all available mainstream educational settings, by providing them with learning environment that is available, accessible, affordable and appropriate to help develop their learning and abilities."

Government of India has enacted three legislations for persons with disabilities viz.

(i) Persons with Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, it provides provisions for education, employment, creating barrier free environment, social security, etc. (ii) National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability Act, 1999 contains provisions for legal guardianship of the four categories and creation of enabling environment for as much independent living as possible. (iii) Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992 deals with the development of manpower for providing rehabilitation services (MSJE 2009).

Higher educational sector not left behind as well, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is providing assistance to universities and colleges to inculcate the educational pattern through which persons with special needs must be able to pursue higher studies. In addition to the legal framework, substantial infrastructure has also been developed by Government of India for supporting and empowering its visually impaired citizens which includes National Institute of visually handicapped, Dehradun.

3. Information Access to Visually Impaired Persons

Visually impaired persons have the same information needs as their sighted colleagues are having. …

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