Equity and access for students with vision impairment: where is PNG now and where should it be in 2015?

Aiwa, James, and Pagliano, Paul (2011) Equity and access for students with vision impairment: where is PNG now and where should it be in 2015? In: Inaugural National Universal Basic Education Conference, pp. 1-8. From: Universal Basic Education Conference, 12-14 July 2011, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

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Abstract

This paper reports on a mixed methods research study on equity and access for students with vision impairment (VI) conducted in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Using the WHO definitions, students with VI comprise two groups: those with a low vision with visual acuity <6/18 and those who are legally blind with visual acuity <3/60. A survey questionnaire consisting of 16 questions plus a section for written comments was forwarded to all 124 Special Education Resource Centre (SERC) teachers. There was a response rate of 83% (n=103). Respondents rated questions using a five point Likert scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). Preliminary results indicate the majority of the 366 students who received specialist services in 2009 are Braille using and legally blind, with students with low vision being seriously neglected. In PNG therefore approximately 160,000 children in any one year level and an incidence of VI of about 0.7% for low vision and 0.15% for legally blind, the numbers would be expected to be about 1,120 for low vision and 240 for blind in each school year cohort if all children went to school. It is clear that many children who need specialist VI services are not receiving them. Teachers in the survey identified significant problems as: negative attitudes of parents and regular teachers, an over focus on disability rather than student ability, the need for specialist pre-service and in-service training and a lack of resources to support student transition to secondary and tertiary education. The paper makes three recommendations. These are that the National Department of Education and relevant stakeholders:

1. Make a firm commitment to achieve equity and access for all children including those with VI by 2015.

2. Identify all children with VI (low vision and blind) and ensure that they are all assessed and appropriately supported.

3. Provide relevant pre- and in-service training and material resources.

Item ID: 21504
Item Type: Conference Item (Non-Refereed Research Paper)
Keywords: equity and access, PNG, vision impairment, VI, Papua New Guinea, WHO definitions, low vision, legally blind
Additional Information:

This paper was also published in Universalizing Basic Education in Papua New Guinea: experiences, lessons learnt, and interventions for achieving the goal of universal basic education, by the The National Research Institute (NRI), 2013. http://www.nri.org.pg/publications/Recent%20Publications/2013%20Publications/UBE%20IN%20PNG%20FINAL%20PRINT%20COPY.pdf

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Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2012 03:51
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130312 Special Education and Disability @ 40%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130311 Pacific Peoples Education @ 60%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939907 Special Needs Education @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939906 Pacific Peoples Education @ 40%
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