Education Sector Accused of Sidelining Students with Vision Disabilities

Africa, Misc., October 10 2017

THYOLO, MALAWI: People who are blind or have low vision from Thyolo have blamed government for sidelining them on changes of curriculum in public schools.

Patrick Chisale who is blind told Mana recently that it was sad to note that since the change of curriculum in secondary schools was done, braille books were yet to be produced.

Loreen Banda a primary school teacher at Chisawani Primary School concurred with Chisale saying late production of new syllabus books would have an impact on students with vision disabilities.

“The new syllabus was rolled out in schools and books were printed out with some changes, however brails are yet to be produced, is that fair?

“I would have loved if the changes took place at once so that we move together,” Banda complained.

Thyolo District Special Needs Education Coordinator, Alexious Gawani confirmed that brails for the new syllabus were yet to be finalized and asked the users to be patient.

He said as a district office, they were aware of the challenges that students with vision disabilities were facing but assured them that they were working to normalize the situation.

“As of now I don’t have readily available data of number of learners with physical disabilities in the district,” he said.

He said there were 31 teachers who were special needs trained, of which 26 were for primary schools and five for secondary schools.

“The number is not enough we need to train more teachers in special needs but funding is a major challenge as the district allocation for special needs is meant for Mountain View school for the death only,” he added.

He said there was need to train more teachers especially in rural areas.

However, Gawani said late school enrollment in schools by people with mobility disabilities was also a big challenge which the district was facing

“Some parents for reasons known to themselves do not enroll their people with disabilities at school at the right time.

“You will discover that in some circumstances parents are bringing a 12 year old child to enroll in standard 1, so we urge them to bring their children for registration in time,” Gawani said.

He said his office was planning to build accessible toilets in schools.

Source: Malawi News Agency

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