Computer literacy training launched for visually impaired persons

Persons who are visually impaired will benefit from a computer literacy programme, through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in collaboration with the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities.

Dubbed Computer Literacy Skills for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the programme aims to bridge the digital gap through the inclusion of persons living with disabilities.

During the launching ceremony at the OPM on Wednesday, participants expressed that the programme will empower them to navigate the digital society.

Colin Caesar told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that he is grateful for the opportunity, and highlighted the impact that this programme will have on his everyday life.

Colin Caesar

 “There has been a tremendous gap between those who are sighted and those of us who are blind and visually impaired …Being a part of this programme will bridge that gap and we will be able to do almost anything that sighted persons can do with the use of the computer,” Caesar stated.

For Rawlesha Poulis being visually impaired had prevented her from participating in many skills training programmes. She said the inclusive nature of the programme makes her happy.

Rawlesha Poulis

 “I feel good because I have not been able to participate in a programme of this magnitude for a long time,” Poulis relayed.

The training will be done utilising the Job Access with Speech (JAWS) Programme designed for visually impaired persons. It will be for a duration of 48 hours over three months, in batches of 12 for individualised teaching.

Participants will be exposed to various areas, including keyboard orientation, basics of JAWS settings and specific commands, basic information about the computer, editing and basic formatting of Microsoft Word documents, basic internet and email use, and use of online meeting platforms.

Training will begin in early July in Regions Three and Four. However, persons from other regions will also be participating.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips stressed the importance of accessibility and inclusivity, as Guyana moves towards a technological transformation.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

“Basic computer skills are the doorway to a world of wider possibilities for education, employment, social interaction and personal empowerment. Therefore, we must ensure equal access and opportunities for all individuals, beginning with these essential tasks.

Our government is continually working to level the playing field to ensure that we honour the convention on the rights of persons living with disabilities,” he said.

He added that the government will continue to create an enabling environment to promote ICT literacy for Guyanese.

“Our government is wholeheartedly committed to transforming the lives of our people through ICTs, particularly focusing on ICTs as an enabler for employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Such a move is crucial in this digital age,” PM Phillips asserted.  

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