Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Providing accessible books and learning materials to blind students

Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) is a Bangladeshi NGO that supports poor and vulnerable populations, mainly in the city of Chittagong. In 2013, YPSA started a project to make books available in accessible formats for students with visual and print disabilities. The project uses globally accepted standards for audiobooks and open source technology to convert books into audio formats, while also partnering with international organizations to make existing audiobooks available. As of 2019, YPSA has created some 1,000 audiobooks and made a further 500,000 already existing audiobooks available to students in Bangladesh.

“With this initiative, YPSA came a bit closer to its dream of building a fully accessible and inclusive society where people with disabilities can live independent lives.”

Vashkar BhattacharjeeTeam Leader, YPSA-IRCD
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Audiobook Programme
Organisation:Young Power in Social Action (YPSA)
Country
of Implementation
Bangladesh/ Chittagong
Start Year2013

FACTS & FIGURES

  • The project has created an immense library of accessible books, benefiting more than 10,000 people.
  • 80 per cent of staff (32 persons) are people with disabilities.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Students with visual impairments in colleges and universities of Bangladesh have difficulties in studying due to a lack of accessible books and study materials.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

The project uses international publishing standards, such as Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY), Electronic Publishing (EPUB 3.0), and open-source technology, to convert textbooks into accessible formats. College and university students can access either e-books that are readable through any screen reading software, or audio versions of books, making it a cost-effective solution for accessing educational reading material. The project is run by a team composed of over 80 per cent people with disabilities.

YPSA also works closely with Bookshare, a virtual library of accessible books (another Innovative Practice of the Zero Project 2020), and the Accessible Book Consortium, a global alliance of organizations working to make books accessible to persons with disabilities. Through this global cooperation, the project has created an immense library of already-accessible books available to students in Bangladesh, benefiting more than 10,000 people.

The organization has also made suggestions to the National Curriculum and Textbook Board on accessible publishing.

A man is holds a microphone, while reading a book in a process of recording an audio book.

Recording an audio book.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK AND TRANSFERABILITY

There is no charge to the end user for the books as the project is funded by external donors, most notably the World Intellectual Property Organization (a body of the United Nations) and the Accessible Book Consortium. YPSA also received technical assistance and training from the DAISY Consortium and a2i (Access to Information) of the Bangladesh Government.

YPSA plans to make more books accessible and to make them more widely available. The Government of Bangladesh funds many such initiatives under the banner of Digital Bangladesh. YPSA is also working to establish a National Accessible Library to make more books available to everyone.

 

CONTACT
FACTSHEET

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LINKS AND FURTHER READING