In an attempt to cater to the needs of the visually challenged students who study in large numbers at Presidency College, Chennai, a resource centre has been established in 2013 on the campus with the financial aid of a volunteer, Mrs.Savithri Radhakrishnan.
More than a hundred visually challenged students are pursuing their UG, PG and research programmes at the Presidency College in the departments of Tamil, English, History and Political Science. Due to their print disability all these years the visually challenged students had to depend on the sighted volunteers to read their printed books. In fact such dependence on volunteers has brought down their level of confidence.
It is with the twin objectives of making the visually challenged students independent as well as confident that the Arunodaya Resource Centre was set up. Under the able guidance of seven visually challenged faculty members (three in English and Tamil departments each and one in the department of History), almost all the text books prescribed in the syllabus have been made available to the visually challenged students in accessible audio and e-format. Besides, five thousand books for general knowledge, spoken English and competitive exams which include TET, NET, TNPSC and UPSC, have been made available to them.
In addition to the well known audio devices like the CD players, many other advanced portable assistive devices such as the Angel Reader, Mobile Tracker and scanners with the facility of converting OCR images into voice format are being used by our students. It is also worth mentioning here that all the seven visually challenged faculty members are staying back on turns in the college after 1. p.m every day to render academic as well as technical assistance to the visually challenged students. It is with the help of eight computers which have screen reading softwares in both English and Tamil that our visually challenged teachers have been independently maintaining the stock and student’s attendance registers.
At most care has been taken in providing electricity to operate sophisticated gadgets. As many as forty switch boards with separate control switches have been installed on either side of the resource room. An ISO certificate too has been obtained from competent recognized officials for the electrification work carried out at the centre. Since most of the students come from Tamil medium schools, dictionaries from both Tamil to English and English to Tamil along with basic grammar books in English have been made available in Braille format.
From the academic year 2014- 2015 onwards, a Hong Kong based NGO, Help the Blind Foundation has been offering financial assistance to the deserving visually challenged boys and girls for their boarding and lodging. They also donated six screen reader enabled systems to the centre.
In collaboration with the other two NGOs namely, New Vision Friends Club and Dharshini, two separate computer training programmes has been conducted for twenty students from the academic year 2016-2017 onwards. The details about the outcome of the course along with the curriculum and other particulars are enclosed herewith.
With the support from the college authorities, The Government of Tamil Nadu and the non-governmental organisations the Arunodaya resource centre at the Presidency College hopes to benefit hundreds of differently abled and under privileged students in future. It is once again with immense pleasure that the college places on record its deep sense of gratitude to our munificent donor Mrs. Savithri Radhakrishnan for her benevolence.