Published works must be put into accessible format — GBU president
By Jessica Dele Akakpo/Jennifer Quaye, GNA
Dr. Peter Obeng Asamoa, President, Ghana Blind Union on Wednesday said books and published works must be put into accessible format like brailles, large print and audio to give the blind and disabled persons the opportunity to access it.
Speaking on the theme; “the right to read in accessible format,” Dr Asamoa said blind and disabled persons virtually did not have access to books in the libraries, universities, and schools, in the community and even the bookshops.
This is due to the unfortunate and simple fact that, only a small percentage of published works were made in accessible formats, he said.
“Blind and reading disabled persons who are also part of our citizenry, also deem it a right to take part in this appreciation of literary works. Unfortunately, we find ourselves excluded,” he added.
Dr. Asamoah said most of the books or published works in accessible formats were products of foreign authors, which makes it difficult for them to access it.
He said most blind children were excluded from the rich and celebrated Ghanaian folk tales like Kweku Ananse series, adding it was frustrating when one cannot have access to these works of Ghanaian authors and indeed other African writers only because they were not in accessible formats.
Adding that in many instances braille were considered as the only format for the blind, although braille were considered as the basic, form of literacy there were other formats like audio and large print or even digital.
He said in this technological era, it was not difficult providing reading materials in the desired format for the blind and they should be allowed to choose the most conductive or convenient format.
He called on publishers and writers to endeavor to make their work available in various formats.
Likewise making provision to include visual impairments in competition which sought to encourage reading among children.
Mrs. Beatrice Addae, Director, Special Education, Ghana Education Service, said the department had assured the visually impaired of an advance curriculum to help them excel.
“The braille version of the curriculum is almost ready because when you get out of here, we have a unit solely for the development of curriculum and all others that are needed to develop the visually impaired.
“We have the braille press and we are working in collaboration with it, to ensure that all our curriculum materials, everything that is needed to be transcribed into a braille is done,” she said.
Mrs Addae said the Special Education Department at University of Education, Winneba are also conducting research into what needed to be developed to make the system very flexible for the visually impaired.
She said nobody must be underrated, and therefore everybody must have the same opportunity to do what was needed in society.
Mr. Asare Konadu Yamoah, President, Ghana Publishers Association, said this year the Ghana book fair would designate a section for the physically challenged to expose to the public what they also have by way of literature education.
He said they were ready to work with GBU to make those books available and accessible for the blind.
He added that the publishers and the authors were looking at what they could do to promote literacy and education in the field for the physically challenged.