Special Schools in India
A visually impaired student praying in The Louis Braille-blind school at West Bengal in India
Special Schools for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Braille’s beginnings in India can be traced back to colonial times, when British missionaries and bureaucrats introduced and adapted various iterations of Braille, including Oriental Braille, to Indian languages. The growing use of Braille in America and Europe was paralleled in India in the later half of the 19th century, as missionaries established various schools for the blind at Palayamkottai (1890), Calcutta(1897), Ranchi (1898), Mumbai (1900). However, the lack of a standard approach and script, and the colonial attitude towards educating Indians at the time, limited the spread of Braille literacy.
Further reading: Braille in India: How Languages Found Expression in Bharati Braille, Thinkerbell Labs, 2020
Indian Association for the Blind (IAB)*
Nestled in the village of Sundarajanpatti in the outer fringes of Madurai in Tamilnadu, the Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) promises the visually challenged a life of confidence and opportunities. Started in 1985 by S.M.A. Jinnah, a visually challenged activist, IAB has been the pioneer in empowering the visually challenged towards self-reliance through various initiatives.
Currently, in Tamil Nadu, out of the 30,000 x educated and vocationally trained visually challenged people, 20% are being educated, rehabilitated, and even employed by IAB.
Realizing the importance of education in empowering the visually challenged, IAB provides free education to students from low socio-economic groups. The students at IAB prove the fact that they have skills and capabilities that are at par with sighted students. Since 1995, the school has achieved almost 100 % results in the class X and XII board exams.
Higher Secondary Special School: In June 1992, IAB took its first step towards its mission of making the visually challenged independent by setting up the IAB Higher Secondary School.
College Education: Under and Post-graduation: In keeping with its mission to empower the visually challenged to realize their potential, IAB took yet another gigantic step with the inception of the Integrated Education Program in 1985.
Library: Audio and Braille Library: IAB has always believed that the visually challenged should enjoy equal opportunity. In line with this vision it was important to provide them with ready access to information. This led to the establishment of a well-equipped Braille and Audio Library in 1995.
Scholarships: IAB’s philosophy is to look beyond itself and reach out to the visually challenged in various ways. This has seen the organization take several unique initiatives over the years.
Extracurricular activities: IAB has always believed in the holistic development of the visually challenged. Treating them on par with sighted individuals, IAB has ensured that on its campus academics goes hand-in-hand with extra-curricular activities.