Ricochet News

Education Dept upskills educators working with blind learners

By Yolanda Palezweni - Jul 14, 2017
Education Dept upskills educators working with blind learners

The Eastern Cape Department of Education on Friday hosted a workshop meant to build its capacity in three of its Special Schools for the Blind at the Empekweni Resort outside Port Alfred.

According to the Eastern Cape Department of Education Spokesperson, Mali Mtima, the five days’ workshop started on Monday.

“These three schools start from Grade R-Grade 12 and are Efata School for the Blind in Mthatha, Khanyisa Special School for the Blind in PE and Zamokuhle Special School for the Blind in Mbizana and they cater for learners who are blind and/or partially sighted,” said Mtima.

He added that in order for these learners to access the curriculum, they require a specialised mode of instruction utilising Braille.

According to the Director, Inclusive Education, Amanda Msindwana, the integration of technologically advanced Braille will allow blind users to read computer screens, instead of the traditional embossed paper.

"The department has also partnered with the Department of Health to equip these schools with assistive devices that convert linguistic text to Braille. Therefore, educators for these schools and blind learners using Braille, require specialised training, which is on offer from the department," said Msindwana

She said that in the last financial year, the department trained 52 educators, but for this financial year, the first cohort of 30 educators, who have progressed to Level 2 are currently being trained.

“The next intake will start at the end of July this year with 50 educators targeted for training,” said Msindwana.

Msindwana added mentorship and support will be continuously provided to ensure that educators are competent in utilising Braille and the instruction of learners.

“The department has identified September for another capacity building session on utilising Braille for content education in Mathematics," concluded Msindwana.