156 blind people from across the country have completed their online training and obtained certificates that qualify them as psychoanalysts. A course completion ceremony was held in Beijing on Wednesday.
At least 50 others are continuing with the training, the first of its kind that was started in October 2004. More than 200 blind students from 20 provinces and municipalities enrolled for the training, according to Wang Jianjun, an official with the Employment Service for Disabled People under the China Disabled Persons Federation.
The students studied basic psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, mental health and handicaps, as well as professional ethics and diagnostic skills, Wang said.
The students were provided with multimedia training material that enabled them to follow the courses and interact with their teachers through assignments and quizzes on a computer at home. They were also able to communicate with work units or training centers for the disabled in their communities.
"With the 'talking' books, I didn't even have to leave home to complete my study and I was able to finish all the assignments," said Wang Jiaji, one of the students who completed the training program and is now qualified to be a counselor. "I've learned the basics of psychology and love the job."
Wang said some of his fellow students have already tried to provide counseling services by running a hotline, website or through an ICQ or online chat system.
The China Disabled Persons Federation says China has about 60 million people with disabilities, including 8.77 million who are visually handicapped.
The country has intensified efforts in recent years to provide these people with easier access to more information and schooling.
The Shenzhen Business Daily published the country's first newspaper supplement in Braille in 2002.
In 2003, China developed a Chinese Braille-based computer system to cater to the increasing communication demands of the visually impaired and those with eye diseases.
Education authorities have also prepared exam papers in Braille so blind students can sit for the national college entrance examinations.
(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2006)