Visually impaired applicants aspiring to get into Delhi University are a tech-savvy lot. Gone are the days when they preferred to get into colleges that provided tape recorders and cassettes. Today, they prefer to record college lectures on their iPods and keep in touch with friends and family through mobile phones modeled after their needs. While some of them surf the Internet to find out about courses and colleges, while many have active e-mail ids.
“I have a desktop and am going to buy an iPod to record lectures,” said Yogesh Kumar, who wants to study History (H) in Hindu, Ramjas or Hansraj college. “Those who do not have a computer have to manage with a tape recorder. But I have a scholarship from the Delhi Government, which will enable me to buy an iPod,” said Kumar, who passed out from JPM Senior Secondary School for the Blind.
Kumar has done his homework. “An iPod can record up to 24 hours of lectures and comes for Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. You can use it either with a computer or CD player,” says the son of a farmer from Uttar Pradesh.
Devender Singh, another aspirant with 80 per cent disability, never steps out of home without his cellphone that has been equipped with speech software called TALKS. “This software enables me to access all features of my cellphone. It gives audio feedback from button presses and can send and receive text messages. It also speaks out the name or number of incoming callers,” Singh explained.
For Sunil Mina, who is preparing for the civil services, surfing the net is a must. “I use JAWS to read online newspapers and also keep tab of how visually impaired people are doing by subscribing to a particular website,” said Mina. “Just as people see, I hear whatever is displayed on the screen and work accordingly. It also helps me send mails to my friends,” said the student from St Stephen’s.