The Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) have hosted the first Blind Education Conference in an effort to examine challenges faced by Blind persons and develop strategies to tackle them.
The first ever National Blind Education Conference was hosted earlier today at the National Library, and saw students, educators, facilitators and advocates come together from Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten across Guyana.
Head of MOE Unit for the Blind and Visually impaired Haslyn Richards while praising the hosting of the conference said it is necessary.
“It’s going to highlight a number of issues in education and it’s going to showcase a lot of us as visually impaired and blind persons and where we came from and where we heading and our achievements that we would have made and our successes that we would have made in life so I am really really happy for this conference.”
The Conference involved presentations on the current status of Education for the Blind in Guyana, suggestions for improvement, early intervention for children with Visual impairments, and breakout sessions with participants to discuss recommendations for improvement.
Meanwhile, visually impaired teachers at the Ministry of Education’s Unit for the Blind and Visually Impaired believe the conference is a good starting point for improving access to education for the blind.
Rosemary Ramitt says the Unit will definitely continue to do their part to ensure the goals are met.
“We will work to develop a list of recommendations that will be published and that we will use as a guide to assess the Ministry of Education’s work because we want to ensure that the recommendations that are made are addressed.”
Asif Khan, another teacher from the Unit believes a holistic approach is needed at this time.
“The major outcomes will definitely be: what is the way forward? Addressing the issue of blind education holistically, of course at a national level, how is it we get blind students to be more independent in the sense of being able to ascertain a job after matriculating. How do we reach to the stage [...] in terms of a full education?”
Ackila Smith, a past student at the institute and advocate for persons with disabilities said she hopes that the conference would provide the springboard to addressing the numerous challenges she faced when she attended the school including safety and security to and from the Guyana Society for the Blind which is located at High Street within the St Phillip’s Green, in Georgetown.