HCD, Basirah initiative create lesson recordings for visually impaired students

(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Higher Council for The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCD), in collaboration with Basirah initiative, started has started downloading accessible curricula for the Remedial Loss Program on the HCD’s website for those with visual impairments.اضافة اعلان

Ghadeer Al-Hares, assistant secretary general for technical affairs at the HCD, said in a phone interview with Jordan News that the HCD has begun to download the curricula and has shared it on its website.

“In coordination with the council, some female volunteers who work at Basirah have transferred such curricula into audio clips,” Hares added.

“We realized the need for recording school subjects in a simple, smooth, and attractive way, so as students can be able to save them and refer to them whenever they want,” Hares said.

Hares noted that such recordings are not just about reading the subject to visually impaired students, but rather providing them with the simplified explanation of some terms.

She said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the HCD and Basirah provided visually impaired students from grade one to grade ten with audio versions of their school books.

“The HCD is developing the ‘Istiqlaleya’ application, through which students can download all school subjects as well as a group of attached stories,” Hares added.

“The application will have a feature that enables students to continue listening from where they left off, so that they will not have to listen to the whole lesson all over again,” she said.

Hares stressed that this process aims to give students with visual impairment and disabilities access to their lessons no matter where they are.

 “The recording process is still in progress. … each recorded subject undergoes quality control to check the programs, audio outputs, and the articulation of sound,” she added.

Sura Khuzai, the founder of the Basirah Voluntary Initiative for Supporting Visually Impaired and Blind Children, told Jordan News over the phone that the initiative works to help people with visual impairments aged 3 to 16 by providing them with high-quality recordings that include school curricula and entertaining stories.

“It all started in 2018, when my son recorded some stories and read them to a group of students at a nursery for blind children as a part of his personal school project,” Khuzai added.

Khuzai said that this inspired her to start the Basirah initiative since she “was surprised” that there were no recorded school curricula for visually impaired students.

“If blind students have no audio books, this means that they have no curriculum,” she added.

“The Ministry of Education’s website provides students with digital curriculum. … but there are no audio books,” she said.
“We reached out the HCD, which has immediately adopted our completely voluntary initiative by providing us with the platform, i.e. their website so that we can upload our recordings on it. Therefore, the council serves as an umbrella for Basirah,” she said.

“We now have a huge audio library containing all the school subjects from the first to the 10th grade,” Khuzai added.

She said that their role does not replace that of a teacher; but has to do with the books themselves.

“We play the role of the book; we do not explain the lesson but rather read it as is,” Khuzai added.

Riham Younis, coordinator at Basirah, told Jordan News that she is responsible for coordinating the volunteers, dividing the subjects and reviewing the recordings. She also trains new volunteers, makes the curricula and stories available, records subjects, and follows up with students’ mothers and teachers.

“I have the knowledge and the ability to help people around me, so instead of doing nothing, I feel it is my duty to help my community and it is the least I can do,” Younis said.

“I hope that our work will grow, and that other initiatives will be launched so that we can collaborate with them, because one hand cannot clap,” she added.

For his part, Hashem Al-Hamaideh, a 12-year-old visually impaired student, said in an interview with Jordan News that he has been benefitting from Basirah for around a year.

“Through Basirah, I can repeat recorded subjects after they are finished, and quickly refer to texts that should be memorized. In English subjects, Basirah helps me with the accent and pronunciation,” Hamaideh added.

“I advise people and visually impaired students to listen to these recordings because they are very useful,” he said.

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