THE Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) is continuing its educational programmes virtually, and is therefore happy to have received a donation of 15 media pads (tablet computers) from Huawei Technologies Limited.
As a consequence of the Coronavirus Pandemic, all GCOPD programmes have been implemented virtually and the trainees and students are thus required to have an Internet- ready device. However, the majority of the persons with disabilities who register for these programmes are not in possession of a device.
GCOPD Programme Coordinator, Ganesh Singh, told this publication on Wednesday that the tablets will be for three different sets of education programmes. “Once new persons join our CXC classes, we would give them tablets to work with,” he informed.
Some of the tablets, according to him, will also be used for the skills training programme where persons with disabilities are trained in various areas like Spanish, general office areas and disability studies.
Singh said Huawei Technologies responded promptly to a request from the GCOPD for the donation and that the GCOPD and intended beneficiaries want to express sincerest gratitude for the “kind and timely donation”.
Further, the devices would ensure that persons with disabilities in the rural areas of Guyana are able to access virtual education and training programmes.
The CSEC Initiative for persons with disabilities, Singh’s brainchild, came about while he was working with the then OLPF (One Laptop Per Family) initiative and was recruited to train blind and visually impaired persons, who received laptops, on how to use them.
“When I worked with the young people, I saw their potential; that they were very, very intelligent and never had an opportunity. The idea came to me; I guess divine intervention. I thought you can use these same laptops, put all the learning materials in electronic format, and we basically teach them the same curriculum. I sold the idea to a few persons and some were unwilling to jump on the bandwagon. I sold it to Evelyn Hamilton, Chief Planning Officer at Ministry of Education, and she said it is something she was sure the ministry would support,” Singh recalled.
Dozens of persons have written the CSEC exams since the project got underway and Singh has said that anyone with a disability who would like to start the classes can get in touch with the GCOPD.
“We never knew that we could’ve come this far and we continue to grow from strength to strength. We continue to make a significant impact in the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired because we’ve seen the difference it can make,” he continued.
One of the teachers, Theresa Pemberton, works very hard to be able to help the students do well. She is very passionate about helping persons with disabilities and goes the extra mile to provide whatever they need to succeed.
She is one of the persons who undertook the mountainous task of copying all of the needed textbooks so that the students can have access to them electronically. The students are able to study for and write the exams only with the help of the textbooks in electronic format.