SEEPD Commended for Efforts in Making GCE Exams Inclusive, Hearing Impaired Student Tops Regional Competition

Bevidzem-receiving-his-prizeThe Regional Delegate of Secondary Education for the Northwest Region has applauded the efforts of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Programme of the CBC Health Services’ in collaborating with the Cameroon General Certificate of Education (GCE) Board in brailing exams for candidates with visual impairment by providing the Board with a brail machine. Mr Sunjo George made the appraisal during a sector conference to launch the examination session of the 2015 academic year that held at Government Technical High School (GTHS) Bamenda on May 12, 2015.

The conference, which brought together secondary education officials in the region witnessed a prize award to students who emerged best in the reading competition and bilingual quiz for the 2014/2015 academic year. The competition was organized by the Regional Pedagogic Inspectorate in charge of teaching and promotion of bilingualism under the supervision of the Regional Delegate of Secondary Education.

Amongst the twenty six students who succeeded in the competition from the Northwest was Bevidzem Cornelius, a form one student with hearing impairment from Baptist Comprehensive High School (BCHS) Njinikijem who emerged first in reading and drawing competition with a score of sixteen on twenty (16/20). Like his peers, Cornelius received an attestation and prize award comprised of books and some bathing items. His hearing impairment did not stop him from succeeding in the divisional competition right up to the regional level. This tells of the fact that persons with disabilities have potentials and all they need is for society to create an enabling environment and make information accessible to them.

In a chat with Cornelius, he said it was very challenging to win such a competition because the government has not fully recognized learners with impairments especially those with hearing impairment that require sign language interpreters during such competitions .The interpretation is left at the mercy of the schools where sign language interpreters do not accompany students to such competitions. Most often, the students end up not succeeding because of inaccessibility to information. According to Cornelius, he was slow because he had to wait for his interpreter to interpret to him before he could write. As a result, other students were always ahead of him.

The 17 year old Cornelius, who graduated from CBC Integrated School for the Deaf with brilliant results, recommended that the government should create more schools for learners with hearing and visual impairments. He said he is very happy to have succeeded in the competition. He is from a family of two and his mother is a Nurse and his father is a carpenter. He dreams of becoming an Anthropologist in future.

The Discipline Master of BCHS Njinikijem, Mr. Ngolah Francis represented the Principal of the school at the event and testified that since Cornelius came to BCHS he has been occupying the first position in his class. To him, having Cornelius is a great privilege to the school.

In an interview with the CBC Pedagogic Adviser of Secondary Schools, Mr. Nyanganji Job said the Education Department is intentional about the education of learners with impairments, thus, measures have been taken to incorporate these learners in the school activities. He cited schools like BCHS Njinikijem and Joseph Merrick Baptist College (JMBC) Ndu that have learners with hearing impairment with sign language interpreters who facilitate their understanding of lessons.

It should be noted that the SEEPD Programme builds the capacities of sign language interpreters in some Baptist schools and the seventeen pilot schools where the programme implements inclusive education.

The launching of the conference and prize award ceremony was presided over by the Secretary General at the NW Governor’s Office, Absalom Monono, representing the Governor. The GCE Board officials in the region assured the Governor and the public that measures have been put in place to ensure the smooth running of the 2015 public exams. Mr. Monono noted that the Northwest Region has always recorded good results in public exams. He warned against examination malpractices and the organization of extra classes by teachers for students to pay.

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