The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 11

The Louis Braille Bulletin
No 11

July 2012

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
on behalf of
The South African Braille Authority

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

It is hard to believe that we have already passed the halfway mark of a very full and exciting braille year.

In this issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin we will give you news of the 5th general assembly of the International Council on English Braille, The formation of SABA (The South African Braille Authority) and answer braille related queries.

We trust you will find this issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin informative.

To receive a copy of The Louis Braille Bulletin contact:

Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
Po Box 115
Tel.: 046 622 7226
SA Hosts 5th General Assembly of ICEB

The 5th general assembly of the International Council on English Braille (from hereon called ICEB) took place from 5-10 May in Johannesburg. The assembly was attended by delegations from English speaking countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US and neighbouring countries. Among government officials attending the assembly was the Deputy Minister of the Department Arts and Culture, Dr. Joe Paahla, and Mr. Andre Roos. Observers in attendance were from South Africa and neighbouring countries Botswana and Zimbabwe.

The 5th general assembly of ICEB afforded stakeholders an opportunity to learn from each other, strengthen work relating to braille, and highlight the role of braille in the lives of users. In light of this the promotion and teaching of braille was emphasized strongly during the 5th general assembly of ICEB.

During the assembly delegates of represented countries at ICEB tabled their reports and highlighted braille projects of the past four years.

Highlights from country reports included worldwide events organized in celebration of the Bicentenary birth of Louis braille which provided opportunity to create greater awareness of braille as means of literacy for the blind.

The successful implementation of UEB in countries such as New Zealand and Australia where it is noted that young braille users have coped well and moved seamlessly in to UEB literary braille, while technical braille is phased in gradually.

A country report from Canada highlighted the availability of a tactile graphics guidelines document to facilitate standardization of tactile graphics.

Twelve papers were presented at the ICEB general assembly. Three papers from South Africa were presented and nine from other countries. Papers covered a range of topics such as International Certification for Braille Transcribers, Rapid Braille: Automated Translation with DAISY XML into UEB, Braille on iOS Devices, Braille Literacy Education, Future of Refreshable Braille, Standardizing Professional Competency in Braille, Teaching Braille to Adults in SA.

Resolutions of the 5th General Assembly of the ICEB

The 5th General Assembly of ICEB resolved to:

• Request that the WBU establish the World Braille Council as a permanent committee of the WBU with consideration given to enabling sufficient resources to undertake realistic charges.
• Appoint a member of the ICEB Executive to serve on the World Braille Council.
• Monitor the continued development of the World Braille Council with a view to establishing closer cooperation between ICEB and the Council.
• Appoint the President of ICEB to liaise with the DAISY Consortium with the aim of creating cohesion between the aspirations of ICEB and the DAISY Consortium.
• Work with the DAISY Consortium to ensure that publishing standards and reading solutions incorporate improved support for the publishing and reading of braille.
• Encourage the promotion of braille publishing and reading through the DAISY Consortium’s communications channels.
• Support the WBU and the World Braille Council in developing a plan to take advantage of the terms of the Convention in promoting the worldwide use of braille and the right of persons who are blind to have access to braille.
• Monitor the reports of English-speaking countries for items relating to the use of braille in those countries, informing the WBU of countries where braille does not get the prominence expected under the Convention.
• Promote UEB as a code which effectively increases the learning and use of braille, and reduces the costs of production. Gather braille promotional material from member countries and associated organizations for use by the Public Relations Officer in promotional activities.
• Direct the Executive to focus on the promotion of UEB in developing countries as a high priority for ICEB’s work over the next quadrennium by means including engagement:
• With WBU and ICEVI at the global, regional and sub-regional levels to raise their awareness of UEB and advocate for its adoption, with opinion leaders at national level with a view to the adoption of UEB in target countries, and with those international organisations that support the production and teaching of braille in developing countries to raise their awareness about the utility of UEB and direct the Executive to use its best endeavours to develop and promote easy-to-read UEB related learning and production materials to assist braille producers in developing countries. Direct the Executive to develop a database of donor organisations able to assist the production, teaching or promotion of braille in developing countries.
• Establish a committee to investigate the feasibility of ICEB becoming an international certifying body for braille transcription in UEB.
• Liaise with member Braille Authorities in developing countries and international donor organizations to develop criteria and strategies to end the communication gap between donors and recipients.
• Consider the creation of a fund to support greater access to braille in developing countries.
• Support the immediate formulation of requirements in the sphere of refreshable braille to make these devices more affordable and user-friendly.
• Advocate for producers of braille technology to add support for UEB in their devices.
• Encourage manufacturers of consumer products to add braille to their products whenever possible and ensure that the braille on these products is correct by consulting with braille authorities and other experts as appropriate.

South Africa forms a braille authority

On 4 May 2012 the braille committee known as Braille SA was officially dissolved, followed by the formation of the South African Braille Authority (from hereon called SABA).

Saba will function with a constitution and an executive committee who will be responsible for braille related governance.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can I contract “te” in “teks”?
A: The contraction “te” is not used in “teks.” However, it can be used in words such as “integrale”, “wortel” and “teleurgestel”.

Braille Examinations

After a period of review the braille examinations were written in March of this year. The answer scripts are being marked and it is hoped to have results out by end September.

For further information contact:

Reshmika Dowling
The South African National Council for the Blind
Tel: 012 452 3811

Meeting of SABA

We wish to advise stakeholders, producers and teachers that the next meeting of SABA will take place on 15-16 October at the Athlone School.

For further details please contact:

Derick Greeff (Secretary of SABA)