Computer education was a must for people with disabilities, especially with visual handicaps, so that they could find sustainable employment in the modern world, speakers said at a workshop yesterday.
Nguyen Dinh Kien, chairman of the HCM City Blind Association, said having basic knowledge of computers was very necessary for people with disabilities because it would facilitate their integration into mainstream society.
It would also give them the opportunity to learn on their own using the Internet, Kien said.
Furthermore, computer education would open up job opportunities as programmers or network administrators for the disabled, he said.
Dang Hoai Phuc, head of the Sao Mai Computer Center for the Blind, said that many people with visual disabilities have effectively applied computer knowledge in recent years.
However, there were difficulties in providing a sound computer education for the disabled, Kien said.
Their English skills were typically low and there was a dearth of Vietnamese support software that limited their access to professional knowledge on computers, he said.
Existing software designed for the disabled has not been used properly, leading to difficulties in installing and fixing computers, he added.
Hoang Thi Nga, lecturer at the City Pedagogy University's Education Faculty, which train teachers of children with disabilities, said relevant agencies should come up with computer teaching support programmes.
IT and software producing companies also should give a hand in creating software for these people to help them learn and work, she said.
A study carried out last year by the Viet Nam National Institute of Ophthalmology conducted in 2010 showed that there were more than 1 million people with visual disabilities including 600,000 blind people in the country, accounting for 1.2 per cent of the country's total population.
The number of people with visual disabilities would increase to around 4 million by 2020, the institute said.
Their life is very difficult because most of them struggle to find employment. Only around 15 per cent receive vocational training and 20 per cent have regular jobs.
In HCM City alone, there were 44,352 disabled people last year, including 3,825 with visual disabilities, according to the city's Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Tran Anh Tuan, deputy head of the City Centre for Forecasting Manpower and Labour Market Information, said IT was a suitable sector for disabled people with high education levels.
It was a sector that would need many employees in next five years, and this was an opportunity that should not be missed.
Furthermore, disabled people could work in electronics, accountancy, and the handicraft sector, he said, adding these fields accounted for 30 per cent of the total employees that the city would need in next five years.
In the last few years, the total number of people with disabilities needing jobs in the city has risen by more than 15,000 each year, Tuan said.
The city has managed to create only 500 jobs for them each year, he said.
Tuan suggested that the Government ask vocational training and employment agencies to implement preferential policies for people with disabilities.
The agencies should enhance co-operation with universities and companies in their localities, he said. — VNS