Teacher helps visually-impaired students achieve their dreams

Teacher helps visually-impaired students achieve their dreams

Esra Ülkar – ADANA
Teacher helps visually-impaired students achieve their dreams

A Turkish teacher has spearheaded a project to help visually-impaired students prepare for university entrance exams by recording audio sample questions.

Münevver Çelebi, a high school teacher in the southern province of Adana’s Seyhan district, said that there are little or no such audio books helping visually-impaired high schoolers to prepare for the Turkish university entrance exam.

Now, she wants to get the audio recordings to more visually-impaired students across Turkey. To that end, she recently held a meeting with Alparslan Durmuş, the head of the Education Ministry’s department in charge of curriculum.

“I cannot, unfortunately, share the voice recording files on the internet since I do not want to have a problem with copyright issues. For more people to [benefıt from this project], I have talked with Mr. Alparslan. I asked for his support for a section including audio questions for the visually*impaired to be opened on Educational Informatics Network,” Çelebi said, referring to an internet portal where students and teachers communicate and access educational and lifelong learning materials.

“I have conveyed sample audio files … to the Education Ministry. They have said that they will evaluate them,” she said.

The effort started when Çelebi wanted to help her visually-impaired 12th grade student, Oğuzhan Osral. When Çelebi asked Osral, “What can I do for you?” her student asked her to read out loud sample exam questions. But there came a point when breaks were no longer enough time for Çelebi to read the questions to Osral. That’s when Çelebi came with the idea of recording the questions.

“I and my volunteers [colleagues, students] want to reach not only my [visually-impaired] students, but more visually-blinded [students], share the questions and help them on their way to their targets, by being their seeing eyes,” Çelebi told daily Hürriyet.

“We have vocalized Turkish, history, philosophy, geography, religion, basic mathematics questions and pilot tests. They are not answering questions involving shapes [in the exam], are exempt from them…In the [university exam], a supervisor reads out the questions, and the [visually-impaired] student gives an answer. Additional time is provided, but it is a difficult situation. I really want to help them,” she said.

Osral graduated from high school third in his class this year. His university exam went well, and his aim is to take a spot in a school counseling department of a good university.

Osral shared the audio questions prepared under the leadership of Çelebi with many of his visually impaired friends.

“They, as visually impaired students, are in a communication. We have shared the files with them. I do not know any of them, but about 20 students have utilized from them. They are sending me their photographs to say ‘thank you,’” said Çelebi.