DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BORNEO BULLETIN ARCHIVES
|Compiled by Lina Gapar|
Unit working hard to help disabled students
Abdul Khalik Saifulrijal & Suriani Garip
JULY 18, 2001 – Inclusive education formulated by the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education refers to the education system where disabled students are included with “normal” students in a “normal” school.
In line with this, students with disabilities should not necessarily have to be segregated from more able-bodied students.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Head of the Special Education Unit Dr Omar bin Haji Khalid said, “There are 108 hearing impaired students currently registered with the Special Education Unit.”
He spoke to the Bulletin after the presentation of a voice-activated compute, scanner and radio cassette recorder/player to assist a visually-challenged student NurAli Zulrainee bin Haji Ali Yusop, at Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College yesterday.
The computer with specially installed soft and hardware was donated by the British Community Link, while the scanner and radio cassette player/recorder were contributed by the wife of the Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.
Tthe items were handed over to the principal of the college Cikgu Jamal bin Haji Kahar by Dr Omar.
Dr Omar said that students enrolled with the unit have different disabilities ranging from hearing impairment to physical disabilities. There are also students with multiple disabilities involving both physical and mental impairments.
However, Dr Omar was quick to point out that, “Physical impairment does not equal mental impairment.”
On essence of the subjects, he said there are no changes but the curriculum, exams and teaching materials and methods have to be modified to suit the needs of these students such as setting out exams in Braille.
He revealed that while some students may be lacking in one or more of their five senses, they compensate for it through their other working senses. For example, a visually impaired student could still make use of his other senses like touch and hearing to do his work.
But the efforts of the Special Education Unit in allocating specialised and detailed attention to the needs of the special students have been hampered somewhat by the lack of qualified teachers, who are able to communicate efficiently with these students. Dr Omar said the unit needed teachers with special skills to teach these types of students.
He revealed that efforts were being made to rectify this shortage by sending teachers and suitable candidates for further training overseas to countries such as New Zealand and Malaysia.
NurAli Zulrainee, 20, suffered a bout of Meningitis before his O’Level exams. However, this did not deter him from sitting for his exams in which he scored eight O’Levels with flying colours.
The courageous young man intends to study psychology at a university upon completion of his studies at Maktab Duli and cites ‘indoor jogging’ as his main sporting interests.
When asked if he had any advice for students with disabilities, he said they should always think and act positive, not to give up hope and to accept their physical shortcomings as a fact of life.
Tutong prepares to fete His Majesty
JULY 14, 2001 – Tutong district was in full swing for His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 55th birthday mass gathering ceremony to be held on July 18 this year.
As in previous years, the venue for this event is at the Tutong Civic Centre at Bukit Bendera.
The Weekend checked out the venue yesterday where the working committees were working hard under the heat of the scorching sun to present their best for the upcoming event.
In front of the royal stage, a long stretch of gazebos have been assembled to accommodate His Majesty’s subjects from various villages in the district during the gathering next Wednesday. A performance platform for stage events has been set up as well.
On that day, students will line up along the road leading to the venue and wave the national flag to greet His Majesty.
The performances will start off with the declaration of ‘Daulat Duli Tuanku’ by the village head and mukims chief of the Tutong District. Other performances include a march pass the by Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Police Forces as well as Brunei traditional dances.
Another new feature for this year’s celebration in Tutong would be the presentation from Brunei Shell Petroleum Companies and Royal Brunei Airlines.
The main highlight of the celebration would be His Majesty’s interaction with the masses at the gazebos.
A number of organisation from both the government and private sectors are also scheduled to exhibit their products in the gazebos.
They include QAF Sdn Bhd, PDS Sdn Bhd, Sabli Foods Sdn Bhd, the Agriculture Department and Jabatan Telekom Brunei.
National flags were hoisted up in most homes, schools and government offices, demonstrating the masses’ respect and joy in celebrating His Majesty’s birthday.
In addition, official birthday banners were also displayed in most places especially from the District Officer’s official residence near Sungai Basong up to the Civic Centre.
Some schools such as the Muda Hashim Secondary School and Sufri Bolkiah Secondary School had constructed arches to complement the main arches at the Civic Centre. They mostly conveyed congratulatory message in conjunction with His Majesty’s 55th birthday.