[blindza] Fw: The blind can lead the blind
- From: "Jacob Kruger" <jacobk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: "BlindZA" <blindza@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 09:59:32 +0200
Vuvuzela Online, South Africa Thursday, October 18, 2007 The blind can lead the blind By VUVU VENA Thursday, 18 October 2007THE Wits School of Education in partnership with Media Works has begun testing innovative training materials for deaf, blind and partially sighted adults.
About two million South Africans live with conditions that affect their hearing or eyesight. Frequently, their careers and lifestyle are limited because of their inability to acquire basic skills.
Media Works, which is accredited by the Education and Training Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), specialises in Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). As the developers, Media Works is running this programme as a pilot at Wits University.
"Government is currently one of the main employers of deaf and blind adults. Our hope is that these training solutions will significantly increase employment opportunities in other sectors.
"The development of these materials went hand-in-hand with the objective to create employment opportunities and we are thrilled that the courses can be taught and facilitated by deaf and blind adults," said Jackie Carroll, managing director at Media Works.
The course materials are being put to the test by a group of deaf, blind and partially sighted adult learners under the facilitation of Wits students. These students have registered for a BA Adult Education Service Learning course, and they do this as a practical part of their course.
This programme was developed over a two-year period at a cost of more than R2 million. The design came about in consultation with community groups and organisations representing deaf and blind people around the country.
The main point of the programme is to enable deaf and blind adults to progress to National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level one (basic education). This falls under a broader framework on which all education levels are positioned. NQF level one is equivalent to grade nine, this will provide them with the basis from which to access further education.
Head of the Wits School of Education, Mary Metcalfe, said "Once people are literate, they can proceed to higher education. Some universities offer support for blind and deaf students."
Metcalfe said that the motivation for this programme came about through a group of staff dedicated to adult literacy and social justice. They became aware of the need.
"Adult literacy is an urgent matter of social justice and redress and access to literacy for deaf and blind learners even more so. The Wits School of Education is pleased to be part of this groundbreaking initiative," said Metcalfe.
Learners currently on the course are in their early 30s to late 40s. They are all working adults who attend four hours of lessons every week at Wits.
"The English literacy and language programme for deaf adults has proved to be a phenomenal success, with the learners making real progress with every lesson," said Heidi Bresler, who is heading up the facilitation process.
This programme is endorsed by the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA).The Braille course material for blind or partially sighted learners is the first such material to be launched anywhere in the world. European and North American countries are set to follow suit next year.
Nita Lawton-Misra, Head of the Disability Unit, said she stumbled across information on the programme in the Wits Intranet. However she said that because their department already has equipment that might assist the programme, they would be more than willing to.
"We are quite happy to assist them in this process," said Lawton-Misra. http://www.vuvuzelaonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1195&Itemid=51 ---------- To send a message to the list, send any message to blindza@xxxxxxxxxxxxx ---------- To unsubscribe from this list, send a message to blindza-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the subject line --- The 'homepage' for this list is at http://www.blindza.co.za
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