11 November, 2009

Set up body for braille

Thursday January 8, 2009 
Set up body for braille 
A NATIONAL authoritative body co-ordinating the use of braille should be set up in the country to co-ordinate the use of Braille and provide uniformity
to the system. 
Assistant director with the Assessment for the Special Needs Unit in the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate, Zahari Hashim, said it was important to establish
a body that could be referred to if language complications arose. 
“At present, braille in Malaysia is being spearheaded and revised by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). However, because of their status as NGOs, any
decision made by these bodies can be questionable. 
“It is my opinion that an authoritative body, much like the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka for the Malay language, should be established to help provide uniformity
to all braille codes used in the country, be they English, Malay, Jawi or Mandarin,” Zahari said during the Louis Braille Bicentennial Commemorative Celebration
at St Nicholas Home in Penang recently.
 Samantha Khoo, 13, reading the pocket-sized Malays braille reference book that was launched during the recent Louis Braille bicentennial celebration. 
He added that the body should comprise of braille experts from both the Government and NGOs. 
St Nicholas Home information resource centre administrator V. Thangaveloo said it would be good to set up a department dedicated to the writing of school
textbooks for the visually impaired. 
“What we currently do is translate existing textbooks into braille but this is not always done by people who understand the disability,” he said. 
St Nicholas Home is among three NGOs who translate and publish braille versions of primary and secondary school textbooks under the Ministry of Education
along with several private companies. 
It is believed that there are some 2,000 visually impaired students nationwide.  

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