Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

'Albinism should not be a hindrance to education'

04 Jun 2018 at 08:50hrs | Views
Children with albinism often perform badly in school not because they are less intelligent but because their teachers and peers are still ignorant of their specific needs.

Addressing an Albinism Rights to Education Forum hosted by Global Aid Missions in Harare at the weekend, Rotarian Marian Mazingi who has been an educator for over 33 years, explained that children with albinism experience additional challenges than their counterparts and there is need for schools and teachers to implement provisions enacted by Government. Mazingi revealed that during examinations, children with albinism are entitled to 25 percent more time to complete their exams, question papers with enlarged print as well as assistance from a qualified person. Special packaging is also available for their examination transcripts which inform the markers that the candidate has special needs. During normal classes, children with albinism, who usually suffer from fluctuating eyesight, perform better if they sit at the front of the class where they do not have to strain their eyes to read text on the chalkboard.

She encouraged parents with children with albinism who might be facing challenges in their education to approach school authorities or the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for help in having their child assessed and assisted so they can realise their full educational potential.

Giving testimony at the event, University of Zimbabwe Student, Chipo Mungate said she had to rely on the confidence instilled in her by her parents from birth to overcome the challenges and stigma she faced at different schools and levels growing up. She highlighted that she often had trouble reading text printed in normal font in books or reading from the chalkboard and she had to pester her teachers to accommodate her needs. Mungate, a versatile athlete with a number of medals under her belt, said her confidence and boldness overcame stigma she encountered and helped in educating her peers about her condition.

Kuda Nyaruwata, a school teacher living with albinism, echoed the same sentiments and expressed gratitude to Global Aid Missions for assisting him and others access free medical care, as well as providing social support. Meanwhile, Global Aid Missions Country Director, Esther CHASI, revealed that plans are at an advanced stage to open a free clinic for people with albinism as the organisation, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, aims to alleviate challenges faced by people living with the condition. Global Aid Missions is currently providing sunscreens free of charge to its members, as well as other assistance.

Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects. Lack of skin pigmentation makes for more susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers.

Source - Nicole Hondo
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.