Every student matters

─ Schoonord Learning Center up and running

─ Govt ensuring Special Educational Needs being met

DPI, Wednesday, September 18, 2019

As the Education Ministry continues to enforce its mandate of eliminating illiteracy, modernising education and strengthening tolerance, the Schoonord Learning Centre for diverse needs was opened earlier this month.

The school was built for $28.5M and comes equipped with a modernised sickbay, staff room for teachers, headteacher’s office, kitchen, four wheelchair-accessible lavatory facilities, two wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, three additional lavatory facilities and a completely landfilled yard for $3.5M. Fiona Fraser, the Senior Assistant Mistress, is grateful for the upgrade as the children were originally housed in a classroom at the Wales Secondary School.

“We were in a room by ourselves. There were about 12 children, it was comfortable but not as comfortable as here because the Schoonord Learning Centre is very spacious, fully ventilated, very comfortable and conducive to learning for the children.”

The Special School currently houses 30 students and can hold more, which is good news as Fraser is certain, that once the word gets out, even more, parents will enrol their children.

“People want to know that there is a place for their children because when the children go to the mainstream schools, they’re not comfortable, so parents will be reassured knowing that there is a centre for children with special needs.”

Fraser has been working with special needs children for more than 20 years, specifically the hearing impaired. She said working with the children at the Schoonord Learning Centre is a joy. She further divulged that even though some of the children are mute, speaking to them encourages them to try to speak.

“Using your voice is good because even though the children they may not speak as clearly as you or I when you encourage them to use their voices, they make a brave attempt, they’re trying to speak.”

Fraser pointed to a few cases where the simple speech was achieved by those who excelled at speech therapy.

As we continue to build our education nation, all of our children must able to attain an education. These Special Educational Needs Learning Centres are vital in ensuring that every Guyanese child has the opportunity to be educated.

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