Changes after setting up of computer center

Few years back, computers for the blind in Bhutan was merely a dream; a dream that they thought may never come to a reality. Reading articles or listening to the news of the blind equally being able to participate be it in studies or jobs with assistive devices seems like a fairy tale. Yet, this was something that they hoped and dreamt so much to come to a reality. The difficulties faced in those days today seem a story of the past. Thanks to NORAD and Medialt for hearing their voice, understanding their dreams and answering the prayers.

On 10th of April, 2008, a center with 12 computers was set up in the national institute for the visually impaired. The center funded by the NORAD and Medialt focuses on the visually impaired children ranging from class I to XII.  Below is the table showing the difficulties faced before and the achievement with the setting up of the computer center.

Through computers, children can today listen to both synthesized and human voice of native English speakers. This also lead to the improvement in pronunciation

While the mainstream schools can easily learn from each other, the NIVI, being the only institute for the visually impaired neither has the opportunity to learn from one another, nor does it have the possibility to teach.

Sl.No.SubjectDifficulties before setting computer Center.Changes after setting up Computer Center.Future Scopes.



Teachers of NIVI had to Ink-print all the class work, project work, homework and test papers of children from Braille to regular print on the Braille dots. In order to streamline, it required a lengthy and complicated procedure. The students had to write in Braille, submit to the respective teachers. The papers were then handed over to the SENCO and were sent to NIVI. The papers were redistributed to the concern subject teachers for ink-printing. Having done the job, the papers were recollected and send back. 

Children now write on the computer, print and directly hand over to the concern subject teacher.

Student may be able to write test papers directly on the computer provided the teacher prepare question paper in soft copy.


Braille Symposium

Based on the ink-printing, Braille symposium is conducted twice a year to eradicate Braille Grade II errors of the students, teachers and ink-printers

The need of Braille symposium has reduced.

With the better skills in the use of computer, Braille symposium may not be required in future.


Integrated education.

There is a huge gap in the teaching/learning process as the teachers of the mainstream schools do not know Braille and the visually impaired children unable to read print.

Through computer screen reading and Magnifying software, visually impaired children integrated in the mainstream school find it easier to study. Similarly, the teachers teaching the V.I Children find it easier in teaching. 

With good computer skills, children will be able to study in the mainstream school earlier. Or in other words, can be integrated at earlier stage.



Worst of all, typewriters were beyond the control of the non-visual persons.

There were times when they had to retype as the letters were not clear due to the typing ribbons either too old, located on the mark that provided only white, choose of wrong colors or sometimes letters were dirty.

Proved with lots of typing errors.

JAWS/MAGIC enables the visually impaired user to enable to fully control and thus make the minimum errors. Typewriter in the institute is no more used.  

With Dzongkha JAWS hoped to be developed soon, would fully be able to make use of the computer and solve the problems faced in the  integrated education programme.



Corresponding with friends and families were worse.  They either had to type on an ordinary typewriter or ask someone to write for them.

Use of e-mail or printed copy of the letter solved the problems mentioned. 



Drafting of document

Taking notes, writing project/assignments took lots of time. If a paragraph was missed, the whole document had to be rewritten.

The possibility to manipulate in a document made it easier and solved the problem. 




Teachers with the correct method on the use of Abacus are very limited. Furthermore, Abacus is no more available in the market.

Young children are able to use the calculator in the computer or use Excel for higher classes.

Mathematics may not be problem in times to come with the knowledge and skills of computer.



Tactile maps are not available to purchase in Bhutan.

Talking Tactile Atlas has made easier to learn geography




Excluding the prescribed textbooks, acquiring further knowledge was beyond expectation

References either through encyclopedia on DVDs or through online provides up-dated information.




Do dodo

Do dodo




Do dodo

Do dodo




Trying to find in the limited Cumbersome Braille Dictionary was a difficult task

Today typing few keys can easily find the meaning of a word.



Listening skills

Children did not have any access to develop listening skills



Research Center

With the access to internet, it has served as a research center be it for the students or the teachers. A. Syllabus for ADL and O and M were developed. B. International rules for the game Goal ball were introduced browsing through internet.  C. The strategies for teaching the blind are frequently searched through internet.  D. Online classes for the Resource persons are conducted.  E. Visually impaired computer users are often guided and monitored through Skype conference.      

There is a proposal of providing Distance computer course to the visually impaired users through online. Development of a web site of the institute is in the plan of action. 



The visually impaired did not have access to News papers as they are unable to read the printed copies. 

Surfing the internet has crossed the barrier. Today, visually impaired people are access to any newspaper through online. 



Development of teaching/learning aids and preparation of question papers.

The teachers of the institute often required to do a certain task twice. First it had to be embossed into Braille through the Perkins Brailler and had to rewrite it using darker pencils/pens for the low vision children.

With access to computers, the same soft copy can be used for embossing into Braille and printing into large font size for the low vision.



User's Network

Although all the visually impaired graduated from this institute are familiar to one another, yet they were never able to meet one another.

The User's network has brought them close to one another. It discusses on the use of computer, assistive technology. 



Library books.

Braille library books are not only expensive, very limited in other countries, but not available in the market of Bhutan.

Teachers and students are today able to download e-books and audio books and read.



Special Education and Low Vision.

The institute neither has specialized nor any materials for reference.

Internet serves as the source for obtaining information required.



In Conclusion, the setting up of the computer Center in NIVI has indeed been a great blessing. As mentioned above, let me reiterate and thank Medialt and NORAD for not only funding for the computer center but also for providing day to day information. As we look ahead, we see the future, brighter and better scope in the field of information and technology for the blind. We pray for the continuous support from Medialt and NORAD. As honourable minister of education said during the lunch, "We must teach the child who has learnt to stand on its feet and nurture who has learnt to feed her/himself", we pray for the continuous support in future.