Supporting Higher Education for Persons with Visual Impairment

Photo of visually impaired women learning through the use of ICT. (C) Resources for the Blind, Inc., Philippines

Information and communications technology (ICT) has brought revolutionary changes to the lives of people with visual impairment. In the past, persons with visual impairment had to rely on reading materials in Braille, but text-to-speech software has made it possible to access information electronically. In 1998, The Nippon Foundation took its first step toward using ICT to provide educational and employment opportunities in the ASEAN region by establishing a fund at the Overbrook School for the Blind in the United States. This was followed in 2006 by a joint initiative with the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) that has provided support for higher education to over 1,500 students with visual impairment in six ASEAN countries. Activities to make information more accessible at schools receiving support include setting up support centers where students can use assistive devices, ICT, accessible materials, and other resources.