The National, Thursday 24th November 2011
Story by JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE Measurement Services Unit of the Department of Education has been accused of unfairly treating a blind student by failing to prepare the national Grade 8 examination questions on braille for him.
Mary Ludwig and another officer working with the Cullan special education in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, travelled to Port Moresby in September and told the superintendent of the measurement services unit to prepare questions of the national exam on braille and send it to Hagen Tee Primary School for the blind student they were supervising.
But when the exam papers arrived and students sat for their national examination on Monday, they discovered there was nothing for Immanuel Simon, the student with special needs.
A young woman trained to become a Notre Dame Sister, Philmena Iti, who specialises in braille was called in and she typed the exam questions in braille to make it easy for Simon to sit for his paper.
Ludwig, who visited the school occasionally and supervised Simon, said the young man had no problem in reading or writing in braille.
She said he was enrolled at the Cullan special education before he was taken to the Hagen Tee School and enrolled in Grade 4 in 2007.
She said Simon had great potential and learnt very fast, unlike other students in his class.
Headmaster Kiap Want said when Simon was taken into the school in 2007, he was a bit reluctant to take him on board, thinking that Simon would not catch up with other students in his class.
Want said after officers from the Cullan special education assured him that Simon would not give any problem and would do well in class, he changed his mind and allowed him to enrol.
He said with the support from the Cullan service Simon caught up well with other students in his class.
He said that in 2009 and 2010, Simon received dux awards in Grades 6 and 7 respectively.
Want said this year, it was very special as Simon was to sit for his Grade 8 national exams.
He said he was eager to know what the results would be like when test papers were corrected in the province.
He said Simon was one of the 187 Grade 8 students in his school now sitting for their national exams which ends today.