HUYE -Thirteen visually impaired students from the National University of Rwanda (NUR), on Monday began a 10-day ICT training, funded by the Ministry of Education. The training is taking place at the university’s main campus in Huye district.
The students will receive specialised training in the use of ‘Jaws for Windows’ software that was developed to help them communicate better and conduct research unaided.
Speaking at the launch of the training programme on Monday, Mary Kobusingye, who is in charge of Special Needs Education, observed that students with special needs join universities without any kind of preparation.
“More preparation should have been done before these students were admitted, we are however grateful to universities for finding solutions from within,” said Kobusingye.
Kobusingye challenged the students to win the education ‘struggle’ and achieve their education objectives through working extra hard.
To demonstrate the ministry’s commitment to support the visually impaired students, Kobusingye announced a donation of five laptop computers to five students in their final years to help them conduct research and write their dissertations.
She promised support to the university through training teachers in the use of ‘Braille’ so as to assist the visually impaired students in their learning.
Prof Silas Lwakabamba, the Rector reiterated the varsity’s commitment to making the learning environment for the visually impaired students better.
He said that seven visually impaired students who will be moving to Kigali following the shifting of the School of Journalism and Communication, and the Faculty of Law will be helped to find accommodation near the new premises.
Jacque Mugisha, a third year visually impaired student in the school of Journalism slammed the university community for what he described as ‘insensitivity towards the needs of students with impairments.’
“The community in which we live is insensitive to needs of the visually impaired, there is not enough equipment like computers and Braille paper and lack of skills in using these papers on the part of lecturers so as to ably help impaired students in their learning needs,” said Mugisha who is also the representative of the visually impaired students at the University.
He welcomed the ICT training saying that it will be vital in conducting research and in the fulfilment of other learning needs.
“ICT development is top on the agenda of the country’s development, we are grateful to the ministry for considering us for this training, with these skills, we will be able to communicate better with our lecturers,” said Mugisha.
The programme to admit students with Special Needs started in 2008 with the first batch admitted at the National University of Rwanda and at the Kigali Institute of Education. The students, both male and female have visual and hearing impairments.