Partnership with UNICEF and KDDI on content for students with special needs – OLE Nepal
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Partnership with UNICEF and KDDI on content for students with special needs

March 2021 | Lalitpur

OLE Nepal has initiated a new project in partnership with UNICEF and KDDI Foundation to make our collection of free and open digital learning content accessible to students with hearing and speech impairments, as well as design and develop digital library space for learners with visual impairments. This project aims to empower children with disabilities facing their learning, particularly in the current context, where their physical access to schools and learning environments continues to be threatened by the risk of transmission or to be disrupted if schools will have to close again in case of new outbreaks. These digital learning modules can accelerate their learning in the likely case where they have fallen behind due to the school closures and unavailability of alternative learning resources in the past year.

For children with hearing impairments, one of the main challenges is to learn the Nepali Sign Language (NSL) and to access digital learning materials that are accompanied by NSL. While many early grade students rely on audio instructions to learn on digital media especially before they learn to read instructions, children with hearing impairments are not availed this opportunity. Under this project, our interactive digital learning materials (E-Paath) modules for grades 1 to 6 will have embedded video with instructions in Nepali Sign Language (NSL) so that deaf and hard of hearing students can access and use them to learn concepts in math, science, and Nepali subjects. These contents will then be tested and piloted in two schools, where they will be provided with computers loaded with accessible digital content, and the teachers will receive training and technical support on how to use them to promote learning for their students.

Computers, laptops, tablets, with screen reader software(s) and other assistive technologies, provide access to a wide range of resources for the blind and visually impaired. For learners with visual impairments, the use of computers with screen reader software overcomes the inherent inefficiencies that are associated with Braille. We can utilize these features to create a digital library space, within E-Pustakalaya, with specially curated digital learning resources for students with visual impairments by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This extension of E-Pustakalaya will be piloted and tested in one school for the blind and partially sighted, where they will be provided with computers with screen reader software and an offline server with the accessible digital library. Teacher training and technical support will also be provided to the school.

Our goal with the project is to create quality inclusive digital learning content that can be used freely by all students who need them. The content and technology developed under this program will be disseminated and shared with special schools and organizations so that more students with special needs have access to learning using technology.