NATION

Nikhil Singh, Vinal Prakash Design Braille Slates

Two engineering students from the University of the South Pacific were commended by the Minister for Education, Mahendra Reddy, for designing Braille Eye slates. “I, as such, commend these two
16 May 2017 11:00
Nikhil Singh, Vinal Prakash Design Braille Slates
Nikhil Singh.

Two engineering students from the University of the South Pacific were commended by the Minister for Education, Mahendra Reddy, for designing Braille Eye slates.

“I, as such, commend these two students and the University of the South Pacific firstly, for their research in Fiji and the Pacific and secondly, for supporting Special schools in Fiji, especially assisting our children learn Braille from an early age,” Mr Reddy said.

He was speaking yesterday at the Nadi Special School while handing over the specially designed slates.

“The effort of these two engineering students is tremendous to say the least,” he said.

“The thoughtfulness and ingenuity to design this slate and then having the vision to give it out to the schools for use is again highly praiseworthy.”

Mr Reddy added: “The Braille – slate marks a major breakthrough in the lives of the children of this school, this new machine will help boost the learning of visually impaired Fijians.”

The slate is a tool used by visually impaired persons to write text that they can read, a Department of Information news release said.

One of the designers Nikhil Singh wanted to become a doctor but his destiny was altered after missing out on a Government scholarship to study medicine.

The 23-year-old could not get a Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship to study medicine so he decided to study engineering at USP in 2013.

Mr Singh and his colleague, Vinaal Prakash, as part of their final year project in the undergraduate engineering programme designed Braille Eye slates to aid the visually impaired learning in Fiji.

Mr Singh is now pursuing a Masters in Engineering at USP.

“In engineering the outcome is when you find the solutions to a problem in society, to deal with problem and this is a true sign and meaning of an engineer,” Mr Singh said.

“As an engineer, I want to do something that would benefit the society and this was the main motive behind to design Braille Eye slates.

“I started this project with my project partner last year with grants provided by the USP,” he said.

Mr Singh said to complete their project; they kept going to the Fiji Society for the Blind school in Suva and get feedback from the staff and students.

“It took me one and half year to design this device. I have designed five Braille Eye slates,” he said.

“The smile on student’s faces says it all. They have got something from USP and it feels good that our knowledge is helpful to society.”

Mr Singh is originally from Tabataba, Moto, in Ba.

His father died when he was young and his mother then worked on their farm and struggled to support him and his younger brother.

He was a pure science student at the Xavier College, Ba.

Mr Reddy yesterday urged the designers to break through hurdles to pursue further challenges.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj

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