| Khal Baharulalam |
AS THE education system strives towards providing for the needs of students with hearing and visual impairment, the Special Education Unit (SEU) under the Ministry of Education (MoE) reached yet another milestone with the official launch of introductory guidebooks on supporting students with hearing and visual impairment in the classroom.
Launching the ‘Guidebooks on Supporting Students with Hearing and Visual Impairment’ was Acting Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri
Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, who in his speech noted the progress of the SEU since its establishment 20 years ago.
He underscored that although Brunei does not provide special schools for impaired students, the need for education officers to acquire skills to teach sign language and Braille code is essential in the 21st Century inclusive classroom system that the nation has adopted.
Organised in collaboration with the Department of Schools, the launch of the guidebooks is considered timely as it answers the call on how to further meet the individual needs of students with hearing and visual impairment in 21st Century inclusive classrooms.
This is in line with the mission underlying the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21), which sets out to provide holistic education for all students so that they are able to achieve their fullest potential in our inclusive schools.
Held at the Islamic Dakwah Centre on Thursday, the event commenced with a welcoming address by Acting Head of SEU cum Co-Chairperson of the Organising Committee, Pg Sarimah binti Pg Hj Ahmad, in which she affirmed “the guidebooks serve as reference for both teachers and parents.”
According to the Acting Minister, the realisation of inclusive education serves as a path towards realising ‘Equality in Education,’ which essentially strives towards giving impaired students a sense of normalcy and encouragement in the classroom alongside their counterparts.
The guidebooks consist of two versions – for hearing and visual impairment respectively. The books include basics of orientation and mobility, teaching daily living skills, an overview of Braille Code as well as effective teaching and communication strategies on using sign language for students with more serious hearing impairment.
The guest of honour later handed over certificates of achievement to 80 teachers upon their completion of a series of training courses conducted in May by SEU.
Fifty-two of the participating teachers underwent a course specialising in hearing impairment, while 28 others completed the visual impairment course.
The ceremony also saw two youth with visual and hearing impairment sharing their personal experience, including the challenges faced during the course of their undergraduate studies.
Visually-impaired Dk Sofiezah binti Pg Abu Bakar graduated from Universiti Brunei Darussalam in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in Brunei Studies, while hearing-impaired Norsyeida binti Mohd Mersidi, recently completed her HND in Computing and Information Technology at Politeknik Brunei.