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Technology helps visually impaired kids experience solar eclipse

Despite being visually impaired, six pupils of SK Pendidikan Khas Jalan Batu, Kuala Lumpur were determined to experience the annular solar eclipse phenomenon at Tanjung Piai National Park near Pontian today.

Although they could not see, the six, three girls and three boys, could still experience the phenomenon with the help of teaching aids and a light-sound device created by Harvard University in America and redeveloped by Apadilangit, a non-governmental organisation.

According to teacher Amer Ikhwanuddin Sharifuddin, all the students were provided with the book “Circle of Fire’ in Braille and the light-sound device which measures light intensity.

"The three schoolgirls have category B2 eyesight problems which result in limited eyesight, while the schoolboys have category B1 eyesight problem where they cannot see at all. We hope that this (experience) will enable them to understand the solar eclipse better,” he said.

The pupils are Mohd Zahiruddin Mohd Zaidi, 11; Mohd Darwisy Afiq Mohd Zahari, 10; Kong Meng Fatt, 12; Piong Sweet Ron, 12; Nurul Insyirah Saiful, 10; and Nur Alisha Qairina Mohd Radzlan, 11.

Besides Amer Ikhwanuddin, the pupils were also accompanied by school principal Norzinah Latiff and teachers Muhammad Ikhwan Fahmi Zani and Rosniza Shahrin.

The solar eclipse could be sighted at Tanjung Piai at 1.21pm today, lasting for about two minutes.

The phenomenon was also visible in Serian, Sarawak for about four minutes, starting at 1.46pm.

The last time it was seen in Malaysia was on Aug 22, 1998, in Mersing.

- Bernama

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