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Monday,July 06,2020 17:22 PM

Blind boys boost Iganga SS standard

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd September 2006 03:00 AM

DESPITE a verdict reached in 1984 to gradually phase out boys at the then Iganga Secondary School, a special group of males remained behind in the now girls-only institution.

DESPITE a verdict reached in 1984 to gradually phase out boys at the then Iganga Secondary School, a special group of males remained behind in the now girls-only institution.

By George Bita in Iganga
DESPITE a verdict reached in 1984 to gradually phase out boys at the then Iganga Secondary School, a special group of males remained behind in the now girls-only institution.
Their unique status –– visual impairment, comes with a momentous department that has been in existence since 1974, catering for both sexes.
Of the 1,200 students in Iganga SS, 22 are visually impaired. Five of them are girls. The blind boys that stayed on have boosted the overall school’s academic standing.
In 2004, Peter Nyombi, a blind student of the school, was the top O’ Level candidate in Iganga district. Then last year, Boaz Muhumuza, another blind student emerged the best A’ Level candidate in the district.
But behind this show by the blind learners lies a big struggle. Their plight was exposed through moving testimonies at the recent open day at the school’s open day recently.
Teopista Nanyanzi, an S.4 candidate, put up a presentation of an audio Bible which serves the visually impaired students. “The audio Bible was donated by the Uganda Bible Society otherwise the other Braille Bibles we have in the department have only the New Testament,” Nanyanzi says.
She says in most cases, the blind use brailled literature which is very expensive and scarce. She says the scarcity has prompted their teachers to use ordinary manila paper which is not so effective.
“Manila is quite weak and can tear easily unlike the more robust braille paper. But there is no alternative under the circumstances,” Nanyanzi says.
Nanyanzi says she can see blurred images but cannot read under bright light as it makes her eyes pain.
“If I am to read, I look for a dimly-lit environment since our common room has large windows that let in a lot of light,” she says.
“You see with braille, one uses fingers and not eyes to read but then due to the light effect, I have to avoid well-lit places. In the process, I miss group discussions because the other normal students need light,” she says.
Teddy Nasseje, an S.5 Arts students, says their departmental building has no space for individual reading tables.
“We students and our three teachers share the single-room structure that serves as a classroom and library,” she says.
On display was a Perkins Braille machine worth sh3m and type writers used to take notes during lessons.
Benson Nkwasibwe, the head of special needs department, says the type writers are not enough –– they are shared between three learners.
“Due to the costly equipment used, we depend entirely on donors who include: Sight Savers International, Christophel Brinden Mission (CBM) and Uganda Society for Disabled Children (USDC),” Nkwasibwe says.
He says the current department house, which once also served as a food store, was set up for for seven people, but now accommodates three times the number. Nkwasibwe says most blind students have school fees problems and are often sent back home during the course of the term.
“They miss lessons as a result but owing to their brightness and determination to excel, this helps them achieve their goals,” he adds.
According to Nkwasibwe, many blind students come from poor families and are just sponsored through the school.
Naome Menya, the headmistress, believes disability is not necessarily inability as some people think.
“Being disabled like in the case of lacking eyesight, cannot stop one from performing. I have keen interest in these students bearing in mind their special category,” Menya says.
She says there is an arrangement for teachers of Iganga Girls Secondary School to take up 10 students whom they always follow up and give a report about.
“I ensure each year that among my 10 students there is at least a blind student so as to associate closely with their department. It also gives them a sense of belonging in the community,” Menya says.
Ends

Blind boys boost Iganga SS standard

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