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The uni that gives disability an equal chance – and succeeds

Frank Wonea (Kuman)
Frank Wonea
Clency Amos (Kuman)
Clency Amos

JOE KUMAN

GOROKA - Despite all odds, two visually impaired students attending the University of Goroka have met Papua New Guinea government requirements and been awarded higher education scholarships.

Clency Amos and Frank Wonea are currently in their second and fourth (final) years respectively as self-sponsored students enrolled for Arts degrees in political science.

Both proved themselves capable among the many sighted students to attain excellent grades and win the scholarships from the Department of Higher Education.

“I’m very thankful that the government has provided this opportunity for me not only to enjoy but also to compete for the best this year and onwards,” said Clency Amos.

“However, it is really the collaborative effort of my course lecturers, tutors, course mates and especially my guides who have assisted me to compete with other students and win the scholarship.”

Clency is from remote Yuri village in the Gumine District of Simbu Province. She completed her early education in Western Highlands before moving to her home province to continue through high and secondary school.

She completed Year 12 at Rosary Secondary School in 2017 and was accepted as a pre-service student at university. Her father Amos Kaupa and mum Ruth are keen to see Clency advance in her education and were among the first parents to pay the parental components of the tuition fees this academic year.

“My guides are my very special friends who assist me to go to class, collect lecture notes, read printed materials for me and do many invaluable things without complaining,” Clency said.

“They have been not only helpful but also very patient throughout the year.”

Her fellow student Frank Wonea is vocalist and bass guitarist of the Goroka Braille Boys Band and hails from Okasa village in the Okapa district of Eastern Highlands. He started his elementary education at Mt Sion Centre for the Blind and completed his primary education at Faniufa Sacred Heart school in Goroka.

Frank continued at Goroka Secondary School, completing Year 12 in 2012 and applied to study Social work at university but was unsuccessful. He didn’t give up, applying each year until 2015 when he finally got an offer to study at the University of Goroka.

According to their lecturers, Clency and Frank are intelligent, independent and very competitive. They attend all classes, doing their academic activities alongside all other students. Both scored very good grades resulting in the award of the scholarships.

“I’ve been working very hard in the last three years to win such a scholarship but things were very challenging until the final year”, said Frank Wonea.

“I’m proud and thankful that my dream of enjoying such privileges came through.”

With the unwavering support of the university’s staff and senior management team under the leadership of vice chancellor Professor Musawe Sinebare, both Clency and Frank will live on campus and eat three meals a day at the student mess hall and access other benefits provided by the University of Goroka.

“Being visually impaired does not mean they cannot go to mainstream school and learn the mainstream curricula”, a special education staff member said.

The expression ‘do not look at my disability but look at my ability’ is materialised in Clency and Frank’s achievements. The University of Goroka believed in the abilities of Clency and Frank and invested in their education and dug out their potential.

The university is devoted to educating students with special needs and is the only gender and disability inclusive university in Papua New Guinea at the moment that enrols and over the years has successfully graduated a large number of students with special needs.

The Disability Inclusion Resource Center under the leadership of Dr James Aiwa facilitates the learning of students with special needs in all academic programs the university offers. The top management team has allocated a building with all necessary facilities and equipment.

The computers have JAWS (Job Access with Speech) software which helps visually impaired students read and understand course content, use the internet and send and receive emails through the provision of voice mechanisms.

Working with students with visual impairment is challenging and stressful and a high degree of patience is required of educators in that learning environment. According to their tutors and lecturers, Clency and Frank are independent and highly competent in terms of academic work and performance. The only time they need assistance is to locate lecture rooms and offices.

To enable this independence, the university has created an environment that is inclusive, enabling and empowering. We are all very proud of the students’ and our own achievements.

The university has educated and supported many students with disabilities. Currently there are six students continuing their studies and Jacob Edward, Simon Apilia and Noah Boli Kuns, also visually impaired, are graduating this month with a diploma in early childhood education, a diploma in business accounting and bachelor of education respectively.

The University of Goroka stands tall among other tertiary institutions in PNG and is proud of its achievements as it continues to encourage Papua New Guineans an equal chance to quality tertiary education.

Comments

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Damien Steven

Dear sir/Madam
Im a disable student from S.H.P attending Ialibu Secondary School this year 2020(gr12). I put my first choice there (UOG) which I was interested and wished to be there in 2021 but I was not selected,with trouble heart somehow came across this page and write this information. I kindly ask you if there's any capable way to help me.?Please help.If I made a mistake by writing all this information in this page I'm saying sorry. Thank You God Bless..
Name. DAMIEN.
Surname.STEVEN.
Gpa..3.0
Information cont.72486765..

Roslyn Tony

Proud of you both. Clency and Frank keep up the academic spirit high.

Joe Kuman

Yalkuna, they both are doing very well. Frank is finishing next year. He intends to apply for law at UPNG after study here and so does Clency.

Bomai Witne

Yalkuna, inspiring story. Frank is a good friend of mine and good to see Clency and others join him.

Joe Kuman

Thank you, Phil.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Nice to have a positive university story Joe.

Congratulations to all the disabled students, you are all inspiring.

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