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The 'Saint Barnabas' School for the Blind
Message from the Headmaster
The St. Barnabas School for the Blind, situated in Nicosia, is the only educational institution of its kind in Cyprus. The establishment of the School in 1929 marked the beginning of the provision of special education in Cyprus in general and more specifically, the education of people with visual impairment (VI). Until 1957, the School operated within the framework of philanthropy. Upon the independence of Cyprus in 1960, a new era of development and upgrading of the role of the School began, which took the form of a truly equivalent public school.
The staffing of the School with qualified personnel, the design and application of a curriculum, the acquisition of modern technological and educational means, the zeal of all those who worked and are currently working at the School, have brought the quality of the services provided to a very high level. This enables all students and adults with VI to acquire the necessary means that will allow them to live in comfort and dignity in society and play an active role in all aspects of life, thus projecting, in their turn, the remarkable work done at the School.
The School for the Blind is a multi-dynamic centre providing a wide range of services that include:
Of great importance are the support services for children with visual impairment attending mainstream educational settings as well as adult training. With the coming into force of the “Training and Education of Children with Special Needs” Law of 1999, the support services are upgraded. Within the framework of this programme, services of educational, psychological and social support are provided to the children, their families and the school unit the child attends. On the basis of Article 33 of the Regulations of the same Law, provision is made for services to adults and those programmes that help the emancipation of individuals with VI are developed.
Other services of the School for the Blind concern the implementation of programmes of enlightenment about and prevention and therapy of blindness as well as support to students attending higher levels of education (colleges and universities) in Cyprus and abroad. Teachers, other specialists and ancillary staff provide all the above-mentioned services. In general, more than 130 people with VI all over Cyprus have benefited from the services of the School during the current school year, 2009-2010.
The School for the Blind is turning into a Resource and Rehabilitation Centre, having the main responsibility for the provision of education, services and information to individuals with VI of all ages all over Cyprus. The two main objectives, that all the services of the School place emphasis on, are the ability to become independently mobile and have independent access to written language, areas which VI, by its very nature, causes the most severe difficulties.
During a period of over 75 years, the School has managed to reach a very remarkable level of provision of its services. What other greater proof than the individuals with VI themselves through their professional and social achievements.
Andreas P. Hapoupis