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Courses should be ‘more accessible’ for visually impaired

Around 4% of the population is visually impaired, statistics show Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

The blind and visually impaired should have better access to regular education and training courses, campaigners have argued.

This content was published on June 25, 2021 - 15:02
Keystone-SDA/SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

“Professional integration is a book with seven seals. One of the seven seals concerns education,” Daniela Moser from the Swiss Federation of the Blind and Visually ImpairedExternal link told the media on Friday.

Technical developments have opened up the types of occupations available for people with visual impairments. The use of smartphones in particular has made many daily routines easier, she argued.

Marie-Thérèse Weber-Gobet, from Travail.Suisse FormationExternal link, which campaigns for access to further education for people with disabilities, added that there were still hurdles preventing blind and visually impaired people from taking advantage of courses outside the formal education system, such as language or IT courses.

Travail.Suisse Formation has used interviews with blind and visually impaired people to come up with a list of criteria for barrier-free access to courses. The Swiss Association of Adult Education CentresExternal link has agreed to apply and review this list, Weber-Gobet added. The Swiss Federation of the Blind and Visually Impaired is also involved in the project.

Training support

Moser said that after she completed her commercial apprenticeship, she was lucky that when continuing her education to become a vocational trainer – the first course she had done without the support of her school for the blind – she was able to use the training provider’s website. This is one of the criteria mentioned by people interviewed for the list. Others included being able to use course documents and follow presentations.

The Swiss Association of Adult Education Centres said the first test courses in the access project, most likely language courses, should take place in the autumn semester next year.

The scheme has the support of the State Secretariat for Research, Education and Innovation (SERI).

According to a study by the Swiss National Association of and for the Blind, around 337,000 visually impaired people lived in Switzerland last year: around 4% of the Swiss population.

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