Link to the UEB Rule Book
The UEBC project was initiated in 1992 by the Braille Authority of North America, whose braille usage is followed by the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. The original intent was to explore the possibility of bringing together three of the official braille codes for various purposes, viz.: literary material (English Braille, American Edition), mathematics and scientific notation (Nemeth Code), and computer notation (Computer Braille Code). In 1993, the project was adopted by the full ICEB (International Council on English Braille) and was expanded in scope to explore the possible unification of the braille codes that are used for those purposes in all member countries. At present, the braille codes used for English literary purposes are similar (though not identical) everywhere, and so substantial preservation of that code is one of the basic goals of UEB (Unified English Braille). However, the codes used for technical purposes in the other ICEB countries are very different from those used in the BANA countries, so that now UEB can be regarded as bringing together the braille codes as used in different places as well as those used for different kinds of notation. (The only kind of notation specifically exempted from consideration under the UEBC project is music, which is already covered by a well-accepted international code.)
The project comprises a UEBC Project Committee and several working committees as follows:
As you can well imagine, combining rules from the two literary codes now in use and creating new symbols for computer, mathematical and scientific notation has taken several years. The basic principle intended is to have one print symbol for one braille equivalent regardless of the purpose of the code. . It is hoped that this code will make braille more widely available and easier to produce. There is still some opposition, particularly from those who feel that the Nemeth code for Mathematics and Science, currently used in North America and New Zealand is a very good code which should not be abandoned. After much deliberation and debate, the International Council On English Braille, (ICEB) agreed that the new Unified English Braille Code was sufficiently developed to be implemented in its member countries if they wished to do so. This body also approved the UEB code for international use.
While there is still some work to be done, there is a lot of excitement about UEB. It has no ambiguity, it follows print, it can express capitalization and text enhancements with increased clarity, and it should be easier to learn. It has also become increasingly apparent that unless the UEB is implemented, its real value can not be determined adequately. When the ICEB made the decision to adopt the UEB as the international code for English braille, the following statements were made by two participants at the assembly: “This is a historic day for equitable access to literacy by blind people in both developed and developing countries,” said Dr Frederick Schroeder, President of the International Council on English Braille. “We want to make braille more accessible for students, leisure readers and professionals: easier to learn, cheaper to produce, convenient to teach and more plentiful.”
Speaking about the endorsement of Unified English Braille, Jean Obi, co-ordinator of the Nigerwives Braille Book Production Centre said: “Unified English Braille is a great step forward for educational opportunities for blind children in developing countries such as Nigeria. Braille is their key to literacy, but there is still so much to be done as less than 5% of blind children in developing countries ever receive the gift of literacy through braille.”
The Canadian Braille Authority is taking a leadership role by endorsing UEB for international use and by forming a committee to construct a plan for its implementation. While implementing the UEB will not be an easy task, the implementation committee is seeking the support of teachers of children, youth and adult educators, braille readers and braille producers. The executive of the Canadian Braille Authority and its members believe that implementing the UEB will immediately benefit braille readers. Books that have already been produced will not lose their value. During the transition period, familiar codes will continue to be used if they are preferred by the braille reader, particularly for mathematical and scientific material.
The Implementation Planning Committee is anxious to gain the support of all stakeholders across the country. Any questions or concerns may be directed to either of the co-chairs: Darleen Bogart (email@example.com) or Ann MacCuspie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Canadian Braille Authority (CBA) is pleased to be able to provide teachers, rehabilitation professionals, transcribers, and interested individuals an opportunity to learn the Unified English Braille Code (UEB). The Australian Braille Authority has developed an instructional program for UEB entitled The Australian UEB Primer. It can be downloaded for free or accessed online at the Australian Braille Authority website: www.e-bility.com/roundtable/aba/ueb.php
The Australian UEB Primer is a collection of thirty-one lessons which provide the learner with explanations, examples and practice exercises. With the permission of the Australian Braille Authority, CBA has prepared the answers to the UEB practice exercises. This will provide those interested in learning UEB easy access to self instruction and immediate feedback on their progress. Learn the Unified English Braille Code is available as part of a CBA project funded by Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills.
Note: Unified English Braille, as all braille codes, is continually evolving in response to changes associated with print and those designed to make braille more efficient. As the code is being implemented in both Australia and New Zealand, minor changes will continue to be introduced to ensure the code is complete and accurate. Currently, there are some minor differences in UEB in Canada and those in Australia. For example, Australia uses a 42 cell line and in Canadian Braille DBT (Duxbury Braille Translation) a 40 cell line. In the following UEB Exercises Answers, this will result in some variation in the actual words beginning any line where the length of the previous line exceeded the 40 cell limit. However, the actual symbols used will be accurate. As well, in Canada, where UEB has not been adopted or implemented, the practice has been to follow the spacing used in print. In Australia, there are some variations to this practice. As the learner moves through the lessons, these subtle differences will be noted at the beginning of each set of lesson answers. Finally, if new rules have been approved or past rules revised since the April 2008 revision of the Australian UEB Primer, these will be applied in the Exercise Answers with a note explaining this.
Follow this link for the UEB Answers (Word doc).
The CBA Teaching and Learning Committee has created a blog to help people become more informed about UEB and its implementation. This blog contains text and audio files that provide the background information about the development of Unified English Braille and some comments from stakeholders in Australia where the new code has been implemented.