Home Education Inclusive Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Solomon Islands

Inclusive Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Solomon Islands

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BY JOY OFASIA

THE Blind Visual Impairment Association of Solomon Islands recently highlighted the importance of providing inclusive education support for the blind and visually impaired community in the country.

The Blind Visual Impairment Association Solomon Islands (BVIPSI) Board Secretary, Simon Dolaiano, acknowledged the need for blind and visually impaired individuals in the country, who are largely excluded from various activities, including education.

“We have witnessed the need for blind individuals in the country to be excluded from numerous events. For instance, blind and visually impaired students are excluded from school,” said Simon during a recent program hosted by the SIBC TV.

Blind Visual Impairment Association Solomon Islands (BVIPSI) Board Secretary, Simon Dolaiano.

He said that by promoting inclusive education for blind and visually impaired students, schools and communities can work towards creating a more inclusive and accessible educational system for all students.

“This not only benefits the students with disabilities but also fosters a greater sense of diversity and acceptance among all members of the school community,” Simon said.

He also highlighted that the Solomon Islands government has ratified the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities and the visually impaired.

“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was ratified last year on June 22, 2023, by the Solomon Islands government. And in the CRPD in Article 24 is the right to education,” Simon said.

Inclusive education integrates students with disabilities, including blind or visually impaired ones, into mainstream education, fostering greater social interaction and a sense of belonging, despite the unique challenges faced by these students.

The goal of the BVIPSI, according to Eddie Babanis, a lawyer and disability advocate, is to support the blind and visually impaired on all fronts.

Eddie Babanis, a lawyer and disability advocate.

“The purpose of BVIPSI is to defend, uphold, and advocate for the rights of the blind and visually impaired in the Solomon Islands. Advocating for the blind at all levels is our primary responsibility,” Eddie said. “BVIPSI was founded in 2013 as a result of some of its members’ decision to create an organization devoted to the problems facing the blind and visually impaired. Making sure that students with disabilities can attend school is one of the primary goals. Based on Article 24 Rights on Education of the CRPD.”

Blind visual Impairment Association Solomon Islands (BVIPSI) is an unregistered Non-Governmental Organization based in Honiara. The BVIPSI aims to promote and safeguard the welfare and interests of individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

Inclusive education for the blind and visually impaired involves the use of assistive technology like screen readers and braille displays and training teachers and support staff to ensure their success in mainstream education.

Likewise, Florence Alley, a Braille teacher, said that there is a need for this group of people based on the CRPD.

“These individuals are needed in our communities and across the country. Stakeholders must reach out to these individuals,” she said.

Promoting inclusive education for blind and visually impaired students fosters a more accessible educational system, benefits students with disabilities, and promotes diversity and acceptance within the school community.

Ileen Akaramo, a parent of a child with a visual impairment, also encouraged parents of children with a visual impairment to not give up and to always show support for the children’s needs.

“As a parent of a child with a visual impairment, I encourage all parents who have a child who is visually impaired to always help to stand with these children,” Ileen said.

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