Ministry of Education enhances inclusive learning |18 January 2023
• Special Education Needs learning materials distributed to schools
A batch of Special Education Needs resources purchased at a cost of R2 million by the Ministry of Education has been presented to all schools to better meet the diverse needs of learners with special needs and further promote inclusion.
The education resources were unveiled during a short ceremony at the Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education (SITE) yesterday morning in the presence of the Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin and the principal secretary, Merna Eulentin, other education officials, parents and students with special needs.
The resources include books, braille embossment for the visually impaired, and several sets of toys for fine motor skills development and creativity and for psychomotor skills development, among others.
When addressing the guests, Minister Valentin said since taking office, he has been advocating for more concerted effort to revamp the teaching of students with learning challenges and their needs, as well as asking teachers and policy makers to be more attentive to students with special needs.
He added that he has also spoken about adaptive materials in regular context.
“I have vowed to reverse special needs education and I am happy to report that the teachers, the support providers and policy makers around are all aligned with my vision and together we are working towards its realization,” said Minister Valentin.
He added that the Ministry of Education has started a deep conversation about inclusive education and yesterday’s exhibition was testimony to their commitment.
According to Minister Valentin this was the first time that his ministry procures such a large amount of special needs resources and he was happy that they have been able to achieve this.
“This system of education wants all students to achieve and to make learning meaningful and worthwhile for everyone,” he said.
During the ceremony, Minister Valentin presented the resources to two Special Needs coordinators, Norline Camille and Christopher Battin, on behalf of the primary and secondary schools respectively.
The private sector support was also acknowledged yesterday with the presence of the Gran Kaz representative, Sharma Amesbury, its marketing, public relations and communication manager, who presented some braille books to two visually-impaired children, Auria Barbe and Tannie Samedi, on behalf of learners with vision impairment.
When addressing the guests, Ms Amesbury explained the funds for the books were collected during a charity book bazaar for employees and the public, organised to encourage a culture of recycling books and embrace literacy.
She added that following discussions with Special Education Needs unit, where they learned that students were being taught braille, Gran Kaz decided to invest in braille books and “I thought what better way to share this love of reading than by making braille books available so I could only hope the students will enjoy them”, she said.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Elisette Racombo, a teacher with 34 years of experience working with special needs children and who is employed with the School for the Exceptional Child Seychelles, said such presentations are always welcomed and the resources would be put to good use.
“We always need those resources because of the students that we work with every day, so we always need to replace the materials like puzzle that become old and used. I have noticed resources that are required daily, educational toys which will be very useful and I am very grateful,” she said.
For his part, Mr Battin, who works with around hundred students with conditions such as visual impairment, autistic and learning difficulties at the Plaisance secondary school, said teaching will be made easy with the newly acquired resources.
“One of the equipment allows me as an educator to put a text into a special machine that prints the braille and will allow a visually impaired student to follow classes at the same time as other students in the normal classroom setting,” he explained.
The resources will be distributed to all schools in the country.
According to the director general for Education, Cyril Pillay, the learning materials have been purchased from Dubai and Zambia.
Photos by Emma Ah-Kong