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Textbooks blow for blind pupils

A shortage of textbooks for blind pupils and lack of enough teachers for deaf pupils has been cited as one of the reasons for the low pass rate at a special needs school.
(Image: Ralph Aichinger, via I-Net Bridge)
At least 57 pupils registered for the matric exams and received eight bachelor and 20 diploma passes, eight higher certificates and 21 failed at Filadelfia Secondary School in Soshanguve, near Pretoria.

The top pupil obtained three distinctions and three meritorious achievements.

School principal Isaac Shadung said they faced a challenge that every year more deaf pupils were enrolled in the school and the institution did not have adequate capacity.

He said the lack of textbooks for blind pupils also contributed to a drop in the pass rate over the years.

However, the school's pass rate for the class of 2013 increased to 64.9% from 63.4% in 2012.

"We attribute the improved pass rate to the number of interventions from the Department of Education, which include learners taking extra lessons and our teachers going to workshops and being given sign language lessons," said Shadung.

He said the high intake of deaf pupils meant teachers were unable to pay enough attention to each pupil.

They were working on a strategy to boost the marks in 2014.

"We had a meeting with teachers to discuss how to improve the quality of education of deaf learners. We will take them in the first week of school to a camp and we are going to have different people who will motivate them," he said.

Kabelo Monnapula, one of the pupils who came all the way from Mahikeng, was at the school from 7am. The 19year-old said he had expected a bachelor rather than the diploma pass. He hopes to study radiography.

Monnapula said his challenge was that he did not immediately grasp what they were taught and he only understood at a later stage.

He added that although he is visually impaired, he used a normal font size for his question papers. He said they had a choice of a font size that would suit them.

Irene Pholi, another pupil who got a diploma pass, shares the sentiments.

Pholi, 21, of Khomele village in Limpopo, is blind.

She said she had difficulties with certain subjects such as tourism and maths.

"We did not have textbooks for tourism. We used notes and our calculators' headsets were damaged and we could not get new ones because we were told they are supposed to be imported."

Source: Sowetan, via I-Net Bridge


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