Special education training urged

National 2 minutes, 14 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

TWO introductory guidebooks aimed at helping teachers and parents support children with hearing and visual impairments were launched on Thursday.

The books published by the Special Education Unit (SEU) under the Ministry of Education (MoE) will serve as a reference listing a “step-by-step guide in providing necessary su pport and assessment for students,” said SEU’s Acting Head Pg Sarimah Pg Hj Ahmad.

The guidebook for the visually impaired focuses on movement in daily living and Braille, while the one on hearing disability offers key information o n sign language and effective teaching strategies.

The publication aims to boost awareness on inclusive education and its policies, which ran alongside the completion of a six-month course for 80 teachers, who will be “focal persons” for parents and schools to refer to on any issues.

“SEU’s longer term plan is to encourage these teachers (that underwent training) to further develop their skills to the point that they becom e experts, increasing the total number of specialised officers in our country,” said SEU’s acting head.

The course — which began in May at Katok Secondary School — gave an overview on the severity and nature of hearing and visual impairments; mentioning how these can be detected and what measures can be developed to ensure the learning experience for impaired students remains active.

Trained teachers should carry out their duties, without waiting orders from authorities such as SEU or the school’s administration, the acting head added.

She also advised educators to discard the attitude of viewing students with impairments as a burden, and do not deserve priority.

Meanwhile, teachers who do not have students requiring specialised training should be pro-active to be able to maintain their sets of skills gained during attending the training courses.

“These teachers (whose schools do not have students with impairments) should take the initiative upon themselves to share the expertise and strategies with other teaching staff in their schools so that they do not just simply lose the ability to execute sign language or to read Braille.”

In his speech prior to launching the books at the Islamic Da’wah Centre, Acting Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Md Yussof noted the progress of Brunei towards an inclusive society, with both the public and private sectors employing those with special needs.

Two undergraduates from Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Politeknik Brunei who were visually and hearing impaired were invited to share their experiences on how they overcame challenges during their studies.

There are 136 students who are hard of hearing, and 120 vision impaired students from the primary to university level in Brunei.

The Brunei Times