Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler????

Visually impaired or blind students within the island’s Secondary Schools could have the opportunity to have some of their text books printed in braille.

Word of this has come from Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, who has announced plans to replicate a project, which is currently ongoing in Jamaica.

Speaking recently on the matter, Minister Sinckler, said his Ministry was about to "very shortly" engage in discussions with the Ministry of Education.

"We want to ensure that those young persons who we see increasing [in number] from year to year, and going into the secondary school system, are allowed the opportunity to have a full and complete secondary school life in Barbados.

"My Ministry also believes that all of our blind and visually impaired persons would benefit from modern technologies, especially the computer-based technology. Early in 2010, we will provide learning opportunities for persons who are blind and visually impaired, through a joint project with LIME Barbados Ltd.," he added.

Minister Sinckler’s comments came as he addressed a recent awards ceremony for the winners of a logo and poster competition for the "Embrace Children with Disabilities – Let’s Show them Love" public education campaign.

The "Connect Barbados" Project, to which Minister Sinckler alluded, was launched in April of this year. It involves the provision of 12 computers with Jaws and Magic Software and a Scanning and Reading Appliance known as SARA to facilitate the conversion of print to audio, and internet connectivity to the lab. It comes with a preventative maintenance programme, as well as a provision for repairs. Its usefulness will be evaluated after its first year of operation.

The project is a joint initiative between the National Disabilities Unit and LIME.

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