School honours efforts of special needs achievers

2010-01-25 00:00

ARTHUR Blaxall School for the blind and partially sighted had a chance to honour the effort put in by its 2009 matric class, in a prize-giving ceremony on Friday.

This comes after its pupils, competing in the Learners with Special Needs category, grabbed four of the top five positions when the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department recently acknowledged the best achievers in the province.

Deputy principal Jay Maharaj said it is important to note that Arthur Blaxall pupils write the same mainstream examination as their sighted counterparts and manage to obtain distinctions, despite having the odds stacked against them.

According to Maharaj, last year’s results have been the best for the school since the introduction of outcomes-based education examinations.

Selly Nzama (17), who placed first in the special needs category in the province, scooped four A symbols and two B’s.

Nzama fell short of achieving straight A’s by one point and two points respectively, in English and maths literacy.

“I studied hard throughout the year on past papers and exemplars and when the examinations came I was prepared.

“It was definitely challenging because being blind or partially sighted, we could not continue our study groups during holidays because the boarding school was closed. So I believe we did half the work of what the sighted students did.”

Nzama has been accepted to study law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she hopes to maintain her record of distinctions.

Nkosingiphile Nyanale (20), who is totally blind, said hard work and dedication is what pulled him through.

He was placed third in special schools in the province.

“I developed a study timetable and had to work hard from day one, and not focus on being blind.

“My view is that my lack of sight is not lack of vision. But it was also the support from teachers and my fellow students which helped.”

Nyanale, who has no parents and lives with his grandmother, admits that life has been a struggle.

“My grandmother is unemployed. She doesn’t qualify for a grant yet and I have pretty much had to fend for myself. My plan is to get a degree and to support my gran,” he said.

Nyanale has his sights set on a law degree.

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