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Microsoft launches digital literacy program for visually impaired

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Microsoft Philippines
MICROSOFT

MICROSOFT Corp.’s Philippine unit launched on Thursday a program to improve the digital literacy of visually impaired people.

Microsoft said the program is a tie-up with ATRIEV Computer Training Center for the Blind and Ateneo De Manila University’s Education Department, and created the Digital Training Literacy Manual for visually-impaired people.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs director Raul Cortez said: “We always wanted to work with people with disabilities (PWDs),” which he called part of Microsoft’s global mission.

The training manual is a step-by-step guide for trainers working with PWDs on the use of Microsoft tools that will also come with screen-reader software. The manual was prepared by visually-impaired trainers.

ATRIEV Chief of Operations Carol C. Catacutan said that a former head of Microsoft Philippines recommended the project tie-up to her because she has been teaching digital literacy for nearly 20 years.

She said technology is reaching into many aspects of life and PWDs should not be left behind.

“Technology is really the great equalizer for the visually impaired. It is now possible to read what could not be read before, through technology, she added.

Prior to the creation of the manual, Ms. Catacutan said the visually impaired would take about 40 days to learn a typical Microsoft digital literacy module. — Gillian M. Cortez