16 November 2012

South Africa: Blind Public School Learner Publishes Novel At 12

press release

The Department of Basic Education's efforts to provide quality education to learners with special education needs continues to bear fruit, this through the recent achievements of a learner from Prinshof School for the visually impaired. Situated in the Pretoria inner-city, the school celebrated yet another achievement this month when a visually impaired Grade 6 learner, Adeife Adeniran, published a book entitled "Can you imagine?"

Adeife decided to write the book after she realised that there aren't many titles available in Braille, leaving learners with very little choice when it comes to reading material.

"Even if the book is not a big hit, it's good to know that there'll be at least one more Braille title available," said the 12 year old.

"The advantage of being visually impaired is that one is able to see another side of the world and through writing this book, coupled with the support of my teachers, I have been able to do that" she continued.

"The whole school community is immensely proud of Adeife's achievement and hail this book as a testament to the work being done at the Prinshof School for the visually impaired", said School Principal Lianie Moller.

"The achievement of this young author is a realisation of our vision in the school. We are able to provide specialised, relevant training that enables our learners to be productive members of society. Our consistent achievements are attributable to the teachers and support staff, who go beyond the call of duty to ensure that every learner at the school is provided with a quality education.", Principal Moller continued.

Opened in 1963, Prinshof School for the visually impaired is a multi-cultural, dual-medium (English and Afrikaans) school which serves as a model of what the Department of Basic Education hopes to achieve with its Inclusive Education programme. This programme envisages special schools to serve as resource centres specialising in the educational support of not only the learners who attend them, but also to the many learners who have been enrolled in mainstream schools.

This support will be provided on an outreach basis through training and mentoring of mainstream teachers as well as through the production of Braille teaching and learning materials. A funding system is being developed to give full realisation to the implementation of the policy. There are already more than 400 blind learners and more than 16 000 partially sighted learners in mainstream schools.

The school currently caters for 338 blind and partially sighted learners from Grades R to 12, a large majority of whom are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Learners are drawn from all over the country and hostel accommodation is provided for 180 learners who cannot travel to school on a daily basis. School transport is provided for day scholars.

Prinshof School also comprises a section dedicated to the needs of learners with multiple disabilities, as well as a Special Education section focusing on vocational skills for the workplace. Learners at Prinshof follow the same curriculum as learners at mainstream schools in Gauteng and write the standard Senior Certificate Examinations, with great success to blind matriculants. The school has achieved a 100% matric pass rate for the past 16 years.

Past learners include top achievers such as Theodor Loots, who has just completed his Masters in Financial Maths and is working as an actuarian in a big bank group and Carina Bruwer; a Rhodes Scholar studying for a Doctorate in Music at Oxford University.

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

16 Nov 2012

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

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