The executive director of the Namibia Federation of the Visually Impaired (NFVI), Moses Nghipandulwa, says there is no awareness material or information in Braille for the visually impaired during the Covid-19 global pandemic that has already claimed over 200 000 lives globally.
Nghipandulwa also says that ministries such as those of information, education or health have not involved organisations for people with visual impairments during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in any discussions on challenges that face them.
“As we are talking now, nothing has been printed in Braille – material or information is not accessible to the visually impaired,” responded Nghipandulwa to a query from New Era.
He also said that when it comes to e-learning as proposed by the ministry of education, it is a challenge for visually impaired learners who do not have computers or smartphones.
“For the visually impaired learners deep down in the villages, it is also a challenge. The problem is not the visually impaired but teachers and lecturers; they don’t have the skills and capacity to teach when it comes to computers and the government is crying there are no resources to purchase modern equipment to advance the visually impaired or students,” remarked Nghipandulwa
Education minister Anna Nghipondoka said the challenges are not just with learners with disabilities but with every child who does not have e-learning gadgets.
“But what we are saying is we got other ways of reaching out to the learners; we have programmes on radio and television. I may not give you a specific answer [regarding] what is in place for them but I know there are classes running for schools with hearing disability in Khomasdal,” said the education minister.
She added that she wants people to understand that no child will be left behind because as soon as schools re-open, the teachers will start wherever they left off before the holidays started in March.
She emphasised that different modes are to be used and not just gadgets, as there are television and radio programmes for children with various impairments.
The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Peya Mushelenga, said that before producing any materials in Braille, they would want to check with the health ministry to look at the cost of producing the material because the current budget does not cater for that. He, however, assured they are addressing the matter.