90% visually impaired persons are unlikely to access education – WIPO

3 Min Read

Only 10 per cent of the 285 million visually impaired people, worldwide, are likely to have access to education or get a job, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has said.

A Director of the WIPO, Mr Kelvin Fitzgerald, gave the fact at a one-day National Conference on Quality Education, Access and Rights Management in Nigeria in Lagos.

The theme of the conference is: “Access to published works and Rights Management for Sustainable Tertiary Publishing and Global Competitiveness’’.

Fitzgerald said that the Marrakesh Treaty and the Accessible Books Consortium had been working hard to ensure that the visually challenged persons were given equal opportunities to contribute to nation building.

He explained that the consortium had been providing the necessary teaching and learning environment for blind and visually impaired people.

“There is the need for all stakeholders to create that platform that will enable us to carry along the visually impaired and the blind persons in all we do.

“This, we can achieve by bringing books to persons with print disabilities.

“The Word Blind Union estimates that over 90 per cent of visually impaired persons are not able to access education through published materials and that rate is higher in developing countries.

“Of the 285 million blind and visually impaired worldwide, only 10 per cent will go to school or get a job,’’ he said.

The director noted that the adopted Treaty in Marrakesh, Morocco on June 28, 2013, became effective on Sept. 30, 2016.

According to him, the treaty allows for copyright international exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for the visually impaired persons.

WIPO director added that such development would set a norm for countries, ratifying the treaty, to have a domestic copyright exception covering these activities, allowing for the importation and exportation of such materials.

“Nigeria’s accession in October 2017 has shown that the country places a high level of priority on the promotion and protection of intellectual property rights.

“We are gradually moving from an innovation consuming nation to an innovation generating economy,’’ he said.

Fitzgerald listed some of the benefits of the Marrakesh treaty on publishers to include producing books in digital formats and thereby expanding the market to new consumers.

He noted that accessible formats makes book products better and streamlines the digital process for all readers.

He said that Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is one possible initiative among others to implement the objectives of the treaty. (NAN)

Share this Article
Leave a comment