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School Receives New Gadgets

School Receives New Gadgets
Students of Labasa School for Special Education on May 17, 2017. Photo: Shratika Naidu
May 18
19:24 2017

Labasa School for Special Education is the third school to receive Fijian-made Braille eye-slates to improve literacy for visually-impaired students.

The devices were invented by the University of the South Pacific School of Engineering and Physics.

Labasa School for Special Education’s Savita Devi (left), Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Mahendra Reddy, Joshua Navitalai (second from right), five-year-old Ardash Narayan (front) and University of the South Pacific School of Engineering and Physics senior lecturer Utkal Mehta (right), during the handover of braille eye-slates on May 17, 2017. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Labasa School for Special Education’s Savita Devi (left), Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Mahendra Reddy, Joshua Navitalai (second from right), five-year-old Ardash Narayan (front) and University of the South Pacific School of Engineering and Physics senior lecturer Utkal Mehta (right), during the handover of braille eye-slates on May 17, 2017. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Yesterday it was handed over to the school by the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Mahendra Reddy.

“We as a society need to rise up and support our children’s social needs,” Mr Reddy said.

“I would like to thank the researchers at USP and Mr Mehta for taking this technology to the socio sector.

“Rarely do we see technological developments done to advance and improve the vulnerable in the society.”

University of the South Pacific School of Engineering senior lecturer Utkal Mehta said the device was easily adapted for children, it is battery-operated and programmable having three modes.

“The project was initiated to meet USP’s strategic theme which addresses students with special needs in early 2016,” Mr Mehta said.

“USP provided funding to migrated barriers that are linked to learning and teaching Braille to blind children.”

Surveys were conducted with special schools and stakeholders.

“A more effective and low cost electronic device named braille eye-slate was invented to introduce Braille to young children who are visually impaired.

Five-year-old Ardash Narayan of Vunivau, Labasa who is visually-impaired said he was very happy to have access to the device.

“I have a hope that when I grow up I can communicate like anybody else,” Ardash said.

Twenty-year-old Savita Devi of Seaqaqa said she has gained more confidence to living her dream.

“I am a second year student of the University of the South Pacific Labasa Campus and I am pursuing a Certificate in Office Management,” Ms Devi said.

“Although I cannot see I am happy that at least I can use this device to assist me in completing my education so that I can graduate without any difficulties.”

Labasa School for Special Education head teacher Mukesh Chand thanked USP and Mr Reddy for their support.

“We would like to thank you for considering donating this device to our school that will surely benefit our students,” Mr Chand said.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

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