Tablets for hearing impaired students

DONATION – The Beacon for Change Foundation Inc., was pleased to present to the Hearing Impaired Unit of the Ministry of Education much-needed tablets and laptops this past Thursday, October 7. Pictured from left to right are Nicola Knowles, Teacher, Hearing Impaired for the Northern Bahamas; Ravanno Ferguson, Representative for the Beacon for Change Foundation Inc., and Johnathan Cooper, President of the Grand Bahama Deaf Association. (PHOTO: JAIMIE SMITH)

The Hearing Impaired Division of the Ministry of Education received seven electronic tablets and is expected to, shortly, have three laptops delivered to assist students and teachers, in virtual classes.

The donation of tablets, which were presented to education representatives at The Beacon School recently – October 7 – was courtesy of the Beacon for Change Foundation.

Ravanno Ferguson, the organization’s representative in Grand Bahama said that they continue their efforts in assisting special needs students on the island, and by extension the Northern Bahamas.

He explained how the donation came about.

“The Beacon for Change organization was reached out to by Mrs. Wood, who is the former Principal for The Beacon School. She has taken note of what we have been doing there over the past 10 years.

“She brought up the fact that the Grand Bahama Deaf Association and its unit at Maurice Moore Primary needed some tablets and laptops. Once we received the proposal letter we jumped on that and as you can see, we are here today with seven tablets for the kids. The laptops are on their way, but we were able to secure the tablets first. In about a week or so the laptops will be in as well,” informed Ferguson.

Extremely grateful for the donations, Nicola Knowles, Teacher for the Hearing Impaired, Northern Bahamas, Ministry of Education expressed her appreciation.

She said that the learning devices are extremely important to the delivery of her lessons, particularly in this COVID-19 environment.

“During this time, these tablets and laptops are actually vital for my children to learn. It is a hard time, nationwide, for everyone on the island and in the country, but for the deaf especially. Every year of school that we miss, is two to three years of actual schooling.

“Between (Hurricane) Dorian and the pandemic, we have been set back about two years of learning. In order to carry on the learning, we have to have proper computers and proper laptops.  We appreciate their mom’s phones, but we need something where we can go on Zoom, go on live worksheets and get our work done.

“For us (teachers), our children have a different type of vocabulary and so, whereby a regular teacher can just send a worksheet, have a student read it, answer the questions and get them right; it does not work like that for us. I need to see what they are doing; I need to interpret the question and I need to explain what my children need to know,” said Knowles.

“On island, as of right now, I am an itinerant teacher; we have one teacher on the island and one teacher’s aide, who is Mr. Johnathan Cooper.

He also serves as President of the Deaf Association.

“I have two preschoolers, one third grader and a tenth grader. In order for me to reach everyone at one time, these tablets and laptops are vital.

“We appreciate the Beacon for Change so much, for including us in their special needs distributions this year,” concluded Knowles.

Last month the organization donated a considerable amount of back to school items for students at The Beacon School.

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