Republic Of Korea Country Report to World Blind Union Asia Pacific, General Assembly, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

1) Population Profile Data of the Blind Community

The total Korean population is 51,806,977(July, 2018) and approximately 250,000 are registered as the visually impaired. According to a 2015 study by the Korea Disabled Development Institute, The number of disabled people is decreasing, The number of registered visually impaired people has been increasing gradually since 2012.

2) Improvement of Opportunities and Challenges:

Employment

Among the blind and visually impaired, roughly 13,000 are massage therapists. Massage therapists work in massage and acupuncture industries. As well, Visually impaired people are working as health keeper. The health keeper provides a massage service to reduce rabors’ job stress. Other than that, the blind usually work as teachers at schools for the blind, social workers, etc.

Education

Thirteen Korean schools for the blind are is operating in South Korea, and hundreds of blind students it is affiliating to disability inclusive education system..

The Korea National Institute for Special Education supports students. (e.g. accessible textbooks, reference books) In addition, The number of blind people entering college is also increasing every year.

Transport:

There is a special transport system for blind and visually impaired. People registered as visually impaired individuals can receive discounts or exemption from public transportation such as subway, train according to their disability degree. They can also use special transportation services operated in region.

Ict:

Almost agencies and organizations serving for the people who are blind or visually impaired are operating computer training programs by a part of the national policy for accessibility enhancement of disabilities.

Another part of the policy is assistive technology device provision program that has provided the devices to applicants with disabilities since 2003.

Korea Blind Union has struggled to enlarge descriptive video services in public broadcasting services since 1999.

3) Changes in Government Policies

Change of the disability registration system. The new law will be applied as of July, 2019. Previously, the disability was assigned its degree, but the concept of legal disability would be introduced. Therefore, It is expected that there will be many changes in the law related to the disability policies.

4) Development in Affiliates’ Capacity:

In order to strengthen the independent living and rehabilitation of the blind, we provide professional training programs to Braille translation, proofreaders, and O&M special list. In this regard, We also operate profession preparation systems to ensure professional workforces in rehabilitation field. In addition, We operate the rehabilitation support center for people with the acquired visual impairment. Through our policies, we help rehabilitation and independent living of people who is acquired visually impaired.

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