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UNICEF improves education for the blind

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, February 18
On February 16 children in boarding school number 202 for blind and visually impaired persons in Tbilisi, Georgia became able to increase their braille literacy and to improve their reading and learning skills thanks to special education supplies and materials provided by the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of UNICEF.

The supplies included special braille printers which can reproduce publications and other materials for blind and visually impaired children, as well as textbooks, notebooks, maps, blackboards, standardised tests, audio equipment and other educational resources to help children enhance their reading and educational proficiency.

“Every child has the right to quality education, including children with disabilities” said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “UNICEF will continue working with the Government to fulfill its obligation towards all disabled children in Georgia, including those who are blind and visually impaired – prioritising support in communities and families. Early braille education is a small but important step on the path to ensuring the rights of all children are fulfilled.”

Trainings will also be organised for school teachers to educate them about the developmental needs of children and families who are blind and visually impaired and to acquire skills on how to work with the new education and learning resources.

According to various studies those who learned braille at an early age do as well or better than their sighted peers in several areas, including vocabulary and comprehension. Reading proficiency provides an essential skill set that allows visually impaired children to compete with their sighted peers in a mainstream school environment.

Boarding school number 202 in Tbilisi is the only school in Georgia for blind and visually impaired children and caters for up to 50 children from 6 to 18 and over. Due to stigma parents are rather reluctant to take their blind and visually impaired children to schools and many children suffer from being isolated from the community, something which hinders their learning and overall development.