Dr Utkal Mehta, Senior Lecturer at SEP (third from left), hands over the Braille Eye-Slate to Dr Franco Rodie, Permanent Secretary of Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD).
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Engineering and Physics has made another donation of its innovative device, the Braille Eye-Slate to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) on 28 August 2017.
Student Nikhil Singh and Dr Utkal Mehta, Senior Lecturer travelled to Solomon Islands and handed over the two devices to the students through MEHRD.
Braille Eye-Slate, which is patented under Intellectual Property (IP) Australia, is a low cost solution to teach Braille language to visually impaired children. It has various modes to facilitate braille learning faster and easier by audible aid and soft key press, which is suitable for children.
Dr Franco Rodie, Permanent Secretary of MEHRD said that the handover has set an important benchmark for the development and implementation of the National Disability Inclusive Education Policy and the Basic Education Policy in Solomon Islands.
Dr Rodie noted that the National Disability Inclusive Education policy 2016-2020 and Education Strategic Framework 2016-2030 shows that the SI Government can provide support and empower communities to assist people with disabilities and provide appropriate resources to schools to enable children with disabilities to access quality education.
He added that with the devices will aid the visually impaired students to improve their writing skills.
“This is an instrument that will definitely provide extra support to our visually impaired learners and so will add to the improvement of the quality of education in Solomon Islands as highlighted in the Solomon Islands National Disability Inclusive Education Policy 2016-2020,” Dr Rodie said.
He thanked Dr Mehta and the students for such an invention and in identifying Solomon Islands as a recipient of the device.
“On behalf of the people of Solomon Islands, MEHRD receives with great honour the Braille Eye-Slate and wish to assure you that it will be cared for and used for its intended purpose – which is to help improve visually impaired learners,” Dr Rodie told the team from USP.
He also acknowledged the partnership between USP and the Solomon Islands Government through MEHRD said that “hope it will continue to bring about more inclusiveness in our efforts to provide quality, access and manageable education for our children.”
Dr Mehta noted that it was important to take the devices to regional campuses as per USP’s vision to take research to the region, which benefits many people.
He added that while demonstrating the device to students, it was noted that it will be an icebreaker in providing Braille education to visually impaired community in Solomon Islands.
The team from SEP is planning to take a few devices to Samoa and Tonga and donate more quantities to Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
Present at the handover were Dr Patricia Rodie, Director of the Solomon Islands Campus, Mr Goldie Lusi, Director of Children, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Mr Casper Faásala, President of People With Disability Solomon Islands, Mr Jiope Iputu, Principal of Special Development Centre, Mr James Bosamata, Deputy Secretary of MEHRD, Under Secretaries, Directors and Managers of various Divisions in MEHRD and student representatives.
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