[AI] 'Right to education will remain a dream'
vishnu.ramchandani at mphasis.com
Fri Apr 16 01:22:11 EDT 2010
'Right to education will remain a dream'
Mayura Janwalkar / DNA
Mumbai: The Union government has made the right to education a
fundamental right; but almost 70 million print-disabled people will find
it difficult to access textbooks and other study material if the
government amends the Copyright Act, 1957.
The amended act will make it mandatory to have licences to reproduce
copyrighted work in any format - even it is meant for the use of persons
suffering from visual, aural, or other disability.
The amended proposal may be introduced in Parliament in the current
budget session, Dr Sam Taraporevala, director of the Xavier's Resource
Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), said at a press conference
on Thursday. He said the government should reconsider changing the act.
"There are a few proposed amendments," Kanchan Pamnani, visually
impaired advocate and solicitor, said. "But this will make our life more
difficult." Citing her experience while she was studying law, Pamnani
said a plethora of reference books had to be unbound and scanned for her
to study. "It was a back-breaking job because such books ran into
thousands of pages."
If the act is changed, an organisation working for the disabled will
have to apply for a licence from the copyright board before reproducing
any copyrighted text.
The process of accessing available material will become more tedious,
she said. "If somebody in Kolkata has already scanned the reference
material why should I have to do it again here?"
Print disability, apart from the blind, applies to those suffering from
dyslexia and cerebral palsy. "When I was doing my MBA, I spent most of
my time searching for reference material that could be accessed in a
format I could read," Ketan Kothari of Sightsavers International said.
"Braille is cumbersome and expensive. Now, there are formats that can
convert text to audio."
Of the 70 million disabled people in the country, 20 million were
children, Eliabeth Kurian, regional director of Sightsavers
International, said. "Their right to education will not be a reality if
the act is changed."
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