ABU(Senior group) Excellent Work
Braille Inspite Of New Technology
Pakisutan Arshad Abbas (31/Male)

Braille offers the most appropriate and most easily accessible tool of learning for the persons with visual impairment. Children and adult students faced with visual disability exclusively relied on Braille for their early and higher education. How ever, in the last one or so decades the picture has completely changed. Ever since computer became cheaper and is available for personal use, new technologies for learning have mushroomed. Now there are several versions of reading softwares also termed as screen readers. With the help of these softwares a personal with visual disability can easily read and write even competing and more so surpassing the persons with eye sight. With the onslaught of technological innovations and inventions life has become quite easy for the people with disabilities. Persons with visual disabilities now feel convenient and feasible to undertake higher studies to their maximum potential and produce the best results.
I also use new technology quite extensively specially these reading softwares. I have achieved the optimal outcome with the help of new technology. I have got through the civil service examination in Pakistan and got eleventh position all-Pakistan and in foreign services category I stood first. I have done MSc in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University, number 1 university in Pakistan. From the same university I have done my M-Phil in International Relations. I have won gold medal in both MSc and M-Phil in International Relations. All my accomplishments were not possible without using the Braille. Although computer softwares stood me in good stead as I typed my papers instead of relying on some writer, but Braille helped me a lot in taking down the notes and reading them for the exam. I still prefer Braille over other methods of reading and writing when I have to do something important. It is like, first I use Braille and then I back it up with new technology like computer softwares and various kinds of other reading softwares. Currently I am working as lecturer in the department of international relations at International Islamic University Islamabad till I will join foreign service of Pakistan in December 2012. I prepare my lectures with the help of both Braille and computer softwares. While delivering lectures I mainly rely on Braille as it affords me greater comfortability and convenience.
Braille is more important or for that matter still important in spite of new technology because primary education is feasible through the Braille system. No better system and no better devices and tools have been invented to replace the Braille to impart education to the children with visual disability. Even in higher education where new technologies have come to play a crucial role, at times Braille becomes more important than the state of the art sophisticated technology. While giving my own example that I have qualified for the foreign services of Pakistan to work as a diplomat, I feel constrained to read and write in the absence of Braille devices. It is for this reason that I always carry the Braille reading and writing tools along with my laptop. Mathematics is another key area where Braille is more crucial than the computer softwares as the Braille devices prove to be more helpful.
In the end it is a safe and easy conclusion that Braille has no match for the persons with visual disability if compared with other technological inventions. How ever, the new technological devices are critical for the people with visual disabilities but the downgrading of Braille is not wise course of action. Braille is the first method to educate the persons with visual constraints, and up till now it is the best method. It is hoped that new technology will play a complementary role to strengthen and improve the Braille instead of replacing it with any other technologically advanced instrument. Braille remains the most important system of reading and writing for us-the people with visual disabilities and its importance has to be realized to make it more effective.
In the twenty-first century there will be more inventions and innovations not only in the field of visual disabilities, but with respect to all other kinds of disability. The assertion is made in the light of rapid scientific progress in all walks of life where disability-related forward movement is inevitable. In terms of visual disability there are attempts to counter its hurdles with the help of some tools and instruments which can be fitted with the brain. This artificial sight is receiving much financial input and attention of the ophthalmologists, opticians and neurologists. It is hoped that there is some critical breakthrough to put an end to the difficulties arising out of visual disability. But despite all this progressive trend and result-oriented research, people with visual disability can not rely on future optimism. Optimism is good to go forward in life but mere reliance on it leads to false contentment. It drives one to assert that Braille in this quickly evolving and unfolding scientific era is the bulwark to lend stability in the lives of people with visual disability. Braille still remains the first building block in all sorts of learning in the lives of persons with diverse problems related to visual domain in the body. Even people who use low vision technology to read and write realize the importance of Braille because over time their eye sight can not withstand the stress and strain, and they find themselves in a situation where they have to use this technology. So in this way Braille emerges as the last hope for those who gradually lose their eye sight, the way it is the first resort for those who are visually disable by birth. In conclusion I have to reiterate my faith in the utility and effectiveness of Braille in the present age by quoting from my own life. Whatever I have accomplished in terms of academic brilliance and professional undertakings, I owe it to Braille. I can give countless examples of my visually disable fellows and colleagues who have turned around their lives only because they used and still use Braille. Braille is to the people with visual disability what oxygen is to human body. Braille is the ray of hope, a shining star in the lives of people with visual disability. In fact, Braille is the eye sight for us who can not see.


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