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Visually-impaired people to get talking books on Jan 1

Published : 06 Dec 2022 09:08 PM | Updated : 07 Dec 2022 02:32 PM

The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) is going to introduce 'multimedia-talking books' for visually impaired people from the first day of the New Year, 2023.

The NCTB, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Education, is bringing out these books for the visually impaired persons for the first time and in continuation of this initiative, they can now read all the books from class I to class X through the 'Multimedia Talking Book' application, Chairman of NCTB Prof Md Farhadul Islam told BSS.

He mentioned that the NCTB is working to create multimedia talking book for visually impaired students and the works concerned will be completed by December 25 next.

He said that the multimedia talking book will be available on NCTB's website from January 1.

"Students will download those books as per their requirement free of cost," he added.

Describing 'Multimedia Talking Book' as an exceptional book-reading idea, he said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the multimedia talking book for the first time and handed over those books to the visually impaired students on December 31, 2014.

While inaugurating the Multimedia Talking Book, the premier directed that such book should be handed over to the students every year and also emphasized that the copyright of this book should be owned by Bangladesh.

Referring to the government's intervention to flourish the education of the students, he said that with the technical support of Aspire to Innovate (a2i), an organization named 'YPSA' of Chattogram has been providing this multimedia talking book for free until now and from 2023, the NCTB will distribute these books with government funding.

National Consultant of a2i and the inventor of Multimedia Talking Book Bhaskar Bhattacharya said that this book can be played through any computer, laptop, android phone and even any media player costing Taka two to three hundred.

Earlier, those books were distributed among about 1200 children for free through a player called 'Accessible Book Reader' jointly developed by a2i and the Ministry of Social Services, he said, adding that till now, the students are using multimedia talking books using this accessible book reader player.

Highlighting the importance of the education in the country, Bhaskar Bhattacharya who is also a visually impaired individual said: "I used to play a thing called cassette player to acquire knowledge. I also used Walkman (portable player). But now visually impaired students use digital technology."

He underscored the need for utilizing technology in acquiring knowledge for students as education for such students is dependent on technology.

"...Without technology, their education will not be effective, so they have to use various types of technology including smart phones," he added.

Its inventor and the government of Bangladesh have won several accolades internationally for inventing multimedia talking books such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) award and UNESCO Award.

Chairman of NCTB Prof Md Farhadul Islam said: "We will deliver the multimedia talking book through hard disk to the Prime Minister by December 30."

In this way, the visually impaired students will also get new books on the first day of the year along with the book festival, he hoped.

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