Press Release:- Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert, on Tuesday January 19, presented a number of E-Book devices to the teachers attached to the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association.
This donation comes on the heels of several E-Learning interventions that have been made by the Department of Education for the Special Education subsector, which so far includes 130 electronic tablets for special education students and 30 laptops for special education teachers, from seven Special Education Centers – amounting to more than EC$154,000.
The E-Book devices handed over this week, to teachers who specifically provide for the blind and visually impaired students, come with the assistive technologies such as zooming text and text to speech.
During the small yet significant handover ceremony, Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert voiced her appreciation for what she described as the dedicated work of the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association, in providing support to hundreds of citizens who live with visual impairment.
She went on to underscore the value of inclusiveness as well as the core beliefs of the Department of Education.
“When we reach out to others, understanding fully the spirt of inclusiveness, we can make a tremendous change in the life of others. What I am doing here is a continuity of what I’ve always done as a student, as a lecturer and now as a politician, as a minister – it is to help transform lives,” Dr. Rigobert said.
“The#educatesaintlucia mantra is an inclusive one,” she went on to add. “This is why the presentation this morning is so personally important to me. It speaks to one of the core and fundamental beliefs of my Ministry, that no child should be left behind, particularly in this digital and technological age,” the Education Minister said.
Dr. Rigobert went on to say that as the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the Ministry of Education and the Government of Saint Lucia, would remain resolute that each teacher and each student should have access to the necessary resources so that learning can continue unabated.
Accompanying Dr. Rigobert at the presentation ceremony was Germain Anthony, Curriculum Specialist for Technology and Integration in the Department of Education.
He explained the rationale behind the handover of the devices.
“Let me say that it is important from the perspective of those of us who are in education, that education is a right and it is something that must be made available to everybody in spite of their economic background, their differences, their capabilities,” Anthony said.
“So for me, it is about equity and I am very, very pleased that I am able to participate in this small activity, where we are able to hand over some E-book devices to the instructional support people in the education services unit so that they will better serve our special education needs learners, those who are visually impaired to be specific,” he added.
Coordinator of education services for blind and visually impaired students Raymond Thompson, thanked the Minister of Education for the devices which he said were necessary in the teaching and learning of students.
Directing some of his comments at the teachers he said; “these devices will give you the opportunity to be better able to assist the students who are blind and visually impaired in the program and so today it is a joyous moment, I feel a sense of gratitude heartfelt gratitude.”
Anthony Avril Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association also expressed gratitude for the devices.
“Let me join my colleague, the coordinator of education services for blind-visually impaired students in Saint Lucia, to express our sincere appreciation. The Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association believes and practice inclusive services and by that we mean we must ensure that adequate provision is made to provide a level playing field for the people who are living with blindness, vision impairment and other forms of disabilities,” Avril said.
Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert has encouraged all the staff of the Education Support Unit to become quickly familiar with the device and its offerings, so that they will be in a position to better accommodate learners.