“Give your children a chance to explore,” was the charge made by Head of the Unit for the Blind within the public education sector, Mr. Haslyn Richards, who underscored that “that when children explore, they learn new things.”
Richards issued the call even as the Ministry launched a week of activities to observe Blindness Awareness Month 2019, which is held in the month of May.
He said that the Unit offers support to students who are blind or visually impaired so that they can have quality education and accomplish their dreams. The Unit Head therefore advised that children must not be left out of the classroom. Rather, he said, they must be encouraged to ask questions, make new friends, and participate in activities which would also help to build their self-esteem.
Moreover, he remarked that the activities launched are intended to raise awareness among members of the public gain a better understanding that persons who are blind or visually impaired can have normal lives and must be treated as normal people.
Mr. Roydon Maynard, who shared the history of the Unit, said that the 144 Albert Street building was commissioned on May 7, 2013. Prior to having its own building at Albert Street, Maynard explained that the Unit was housed at the St. Rose’s High School for 33 years. During that time, it catered to the needs of a number of students up to the CSEC and GCE Advanced Level.
Meanwhile, a showcase of resources to educate the blind and visually impaired students was on display at the launching ceremony. Some of the items displayed came under various categories including: craft, braille, technology, home economics and agricultural science.
As part of the activities, today will be a prize-giving ceremony, while the Unit will tomorrow host a career day. On the following day there will be an internal games day for the teachers and students and, to end the week of activities, there will be a trip to Fort Island in the Essequibo River.
The week of activities was officially declared opened on Monday by Principal Education Officer Ms. Volika Jaikishun who said that the Ministry of Education has grown to have its own unit in Georgetown. However, she noted that in all the administrative regions the Special Education Needs Unit has centres that can cater to the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired.
She encouraged persons to take advantage of the opportunities that are available and to advise others to do the same since today there are many stories of persons who are blind or visually impaired living satisfactory lives.