GOROKA - The University of Goroka has hosted its 21st graduation with more than 700 students graduating in various academic programs.
Among them were two functionally blind students - Immanuel Simon from Gumine in Simbu with a diploma in technical vocational education and Israel Kine from East Sepik graduating in communication and creative industry.
Both men had enrolled at the university in 2016. and completed the two year diploma programs successfully.
Parents, guardians, academics and relatives and special education teachers from Simbu and Mt Sion Blind Centre who facilitated the duo’s learning were also present to witness their graduation.
The photo shows Dr James Aiwa, Emmanuel Simon, Palme Kami (Emmanuel’s guide), Israel Kine and Israel’s mother
Israel Kine was co-sponsored by Ungai Bena MP Benny Allan who was also present to witness and congratulate him.
“Besides other development projects, I have also funded disability programs in my district and have created a disability desk for people living with disabilities to seek support live a life that is productive and meaningful,” said Benny Allan.
“Israel is one of the people who have benefitted from this fund.”
The mentor of visually-impaired education education and executive dean of the School of Education, Dr James Aiwa, congratulated the two men on their achievement.
Dr Aiwa said Emmanuel and Israel were enrolled not because they had disabilities but on merit.
“They completed primary and secondary school and scored acceptable grade point averages to enter tertiary institutions.
“The University of Goroka is the only state tertiary institution in PNG that enrols and graduates a high number of students with special needs,” Dr Aiwa said.
Currently, there are seven students with visual impairment, one with hearing impairment and another with physical impairment studying at the university under different programs.
The University of Goroka has also established a Disability Inclusion Resource Centre in the School of Education. Christofel Blinden Mission based in Wewak has funded the centre, office and learning facilities with a grant of K25,000 while other organisations have funded laptops and other devices.
The centre will seek more assistance to purchase necessary equipment and assistive devices to enhance teaching and learning for students so they can complete their studies successfully.
The challenge now is to liaise with the government and potential employers to create jobs for these people.