Pune student starts petition to make audio books available

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At a time when online education has become the norm, a Pune-based student has come up with the idea of providing audio books to the visually challenged. Vishal Palve, a Masters student from Pune University, has started a petition online to urge the state board to make such textbooks from all classes available in the audio format.

During the lockdown, a few visually challenged friends approached Palve to help them record notes and textbooks in the audio format and soon he started the initiative Let’s Record – a platform through which he is mobilising volunteers to record notes and textbooks.

Though a number of people approached him from across India and abroad to help create the audio books, Palve believes that it would be better to have standard curriculum textbooks available in audio format and a single platform from where visually challenged students can download them. That is when he started the petition — make a single platform available for blind students to access educational audio books — which has already received more than 20,000 signatures.  “There are more than five million blind students in India. They have the same right to be educated as any other person.

But a major problem they face is the unavailability of proper study material. Audio books will help them get access to such material. Similarly, there are a lot of people in our country who want to work for a social cause and are looking for a platform to engage with. We urge the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to create a mobile application through which blind students can easily access the audio books and also be able to request the books they want to be recorded,” states Palve in the petition.

“This year, the state board made PDFs of textbooks available for the changed Std XII syllabus. A student approached me who needed some of the textbooks in the audio format. I simply started recording them on my phone, but it took me almost four to five months to complete it. Even though I have these recorded books, access is limited with restricted circulation. Whereas, if these books are officially made available by the state board, they will reach all those who need them,” shared Palve, who has been a very active member of the Saathi Enabling Centre at Fergusson College in Pune where he completed his degree education. Palve added, “In the current situation, the need for such a platform has become all the more important.”

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