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International Council on English Braille (ICEB)
2004 General Assembly Resolutions

Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
Monday, March 29 through Friday, April 2, 2004

1.0 Whereas the Project Committee was charged with the creation of one braille code for English which would expand the literary code in order to embed in it symbols for all technical materials (with the exception of music) this General Assembly resolves that:

2.0 This General Assembly resolves that ICEB express its appreciation to the Project Committee for its excellent work; that the Project Committee and its working committees be dissolved; and that the Executive Committee be charged with establishing whatever committees are required (including an overarching committee) to complete the task of carrying on the work of the UEBC.

3.0 This General Assembly resolves that the Executive Committee be asked to coordinate the development of UEBC-related training materials for transcribers, teachers, and learners.

4.0 This General Assembly resolves that ICEB establish a committee to coordinate unified English braille-related research among the member countries, generate a list of topics for research, and assign them a priority rating.

5.0 This General Assembly resolves that the impact of the proposed UEBC on writing generally and on the learning of foreign languages and mathematics needs to be researched as a matter of urgency.

6.0 This General Assembly resolves that the ICEB support research in the area of the use of contractions in syllable bridging and its impact on readability in all English-speaking countries; and that the Executive appropriate an amount to be dedicated toward expenses for conducting such research; and that ICEB work in collaboration with other entities (such as the International Braille Research Center, the American Foundation for the Blind, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Royal National Institute of the Blind, etc.) interested in and committed to conducting research on braille reading and writing and which are willing to contribute additional funding as needed to complete such research.

7.0 This General Assembly reaffirms its support for the principles of rules simplification, reduction of exceptions to rules wherever possible, and maximizing consistencies in braille usage across English-speaking countries; that to facilitate adherence to these principles a plan be introduced aimed at common usage of contractions and the elimination of differences in the use of bridging syllables, prefixes and suffixes, diphthongs and rules dependent on pronunciation, etc.; that a working group be established to progress this and priority be given to examining current rules and determining a way forward to resolve this issue.

8.0 This General Assembly agrees that, although format guidelines are not a prerequisite for the implementation of UEBC, braille formatting methods impact on the readability of braille. Good formatting practices in different countries have common elements relating to the need for effective tactile navigation. Therefore, this General Assembly resolves that a working group should be established to formulate these principles of best practice covering materials for children and adults including elementary educational materials.

9.0 The General Assembly resolves that the working group set up under Resolution 8 establish a sub-group to gather information from all participating countries on current format practice for elementary educational materials; and that the sub-group continue the work of developing format guidelines and encourage their use in the production of materials intended for young readers.

10.0 This General Assembly recognizes that the charges given to the ICEB Tactile Graphics Committee in resolution 14 of the 1999 General Assembly have not been accomplished and that a new approach is needed. This General Assembly resolves that a Tactile Graphics Committee be re-established by the Executive with an initial focus on information sharing between ICEB countries.

11.0 This General Assembly resolves that the Braille Promotion Committee facilitates the sharing of ideas, promotional and instructional materials, together with implementation strategies for the UEBC; and that the Public Relations Officer’s duties include responsibility for enhancing the ICEB web site accordingly.

12.0 Whereas the executive committee of ICEB has found it difficult to establish communication with developing countries that use English as a second language, in line with resolution 1.0 of the 1999 General Assembly; given the limited resources available to these countries which make face to face meeting impractical; recognizing the increased access to Internet services in developing countries and the urgent desire of ICEB to reach out to them, this General Assembly resolves that:

13.0 This General Assembly affirms the principle of unrestricted international interlending of reading materials in alternative formats among recognized blindness agencies. Therefore the Executive Committee of ICEB should work through the Braille Authority of North America and with other relevant non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies to give non-citizens of the United States access to braille and other accessible format materials produced in the United States through the development of appropriate international protocols and legislative change if necessary.

14.0 This General Assembly resolves that ICEB endorses the proposed establishment by the World Blind Union of the World Braille Council and requests the ICEB Executive Committee to facilitate participation in the WBC by ICEB and its affiliated braille authorities as it deems appropriate.

15.0 This General Assembly of the International Council on English Braille wishes to put on record its warm thanks to the following:

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