The 2018 matriculation examination began at 9 a.m. on 7 March all over the country, and among the 844,358 students who appeared for the examination, some were visually impaired.
Thirteen visually impaired students registered to sit for the Yangon Region matriculation examination. Of these, six sat at Kyimyindine Basic Education High School No. (2) examination centre, and seven were at Insein Basic Education High School No. (8) examination centre.
Headmistress Daw Zina Dun of Yangon School for the Blind (Kha We Chan), Mayangon Township, said, “This year, our school has seven students sitting for the matriculation examination. Students in our school attend school at Mayangon Basic Education Middle School No. (3) up to 9th grade. Starting from high school, they attend school at Insein Basic Education High School No. (2). Before sitting for the matriculation examination, they
are tested at Insein Basic
Education High School No. (2). For this test, they were
assisted by 10th grade students, who are studying in one grade lower than they are. The 10th graders read the questions to them and then write down the answers provided orally by them.”
Daw Zina Dun added that in the past, students from
Yangon School for the Blind (Kha We Chan), Mayangon Township, passed the matriculation, coming second overall one year, and third overall another year in the art combination subject among all the matriculation students of the Yangon region.
Maung Bya Yay Rami, a visually impaired student, who sat at Insein Basic Education High School No. (8) examination centre, said, “I’m satisfied after sitting for three subjects in the first three days. I’ve been trying hard since the start of the (education) year. I take time to prepare and the school also helped me. Teachers taught us well. I’m very satisfied with the Myanmar subject test, but I was a bit weak in mathematics. I was not sure of some symbols in the mathematics test and I had to check with a teacher overseeing the test through my helper who helped me sit for the test. Once I pass the matriculation examination and obtain a degree, I’ll teach in our school for the blind. I want people to help us, so that despite my impaired vision, I can prove my capability.”
Another visually impaired student Ma Khun Nan, sitting at Insein Basic Education High School No. (3) examination centre, also expressed a similar sentiment, of hoping to acquire a degree upon matriculation and then teaching in the school for the blind.
Ma Khun Nan said, “Throughout the year, I listened attentively to what the teachers had taught and so far, I’m doing fine in the examination. Being blind, we are a bit weak in English and mathematics. As we can’t see, someone has to write on behalf of us. As I’m an ethnic national, the person who helped me write down the answer, sometimes, couldn’t understand what I was saying. This is a small difficulty I faced, but I’m confident I’ll pass. Of course, there are difficulties in everything, but everything can be overcome by facing difficulties without fear.”
Maung Htin Lin Aung from Pauk Town, Pakokku District, Magway Region, who was attending Kyimyindine School for the Blind since 2008 and sitting for the matriculation examination at Kyimyindine Basic Education High School No. (2) examination centre, revealed his ultimate wish. “I want to educate the blind by becoming a teacher. I also want to become an audio engineer.”
In Kyimyindine School for the Blind, there are many teachers similar to Maung Htin Lin Aung, who have studied in the school and then gone on to become teachers.
Maung Htin Lin Aung said, “I’m now 22 years old. I’m sitting for the matriculation examination this year. We sit for the exam with the help of 10th graders who are studying in one grade below us. The difficulty is the symbols in mathematics that I’m worried about. In English, there can be mistakes in the letters T and D and L, M and N. But the 10th grader who helped me write was quite good. Today, was mathematics. Of the three days so far, I’m satisfied with the Myanmar subject. English was a bit difficult but I was able to do well. Mathematics questions were easy. Although I didn’t complete them all, I finished most of the questions.”
Deputy Headmaster of Kyimyindine School for the Blind U Aung Soe Win said that 10th graders who volunteer to help the visually impaired students sit for the matriculation examinations are systematically trained.
U Aung Soe Win said, “The Basic Education Department selects the volunteers. The volunteers who sat for the 10th grade examinations will attend the matriculation class the next year. They were trained so that there are no errors in symbols and to listen carefully to English spellings.”
Volunteer Maung Nyan Aung Lin, who wrote the 10th grade examination at Insein Basic Education High School No. (2), said, “The difficulties stem from the symbols that we are not yet taught (in 10th grade). But the teachers taught us in advance and I was able to help out well.
If they don’t understand the question that we read to them, we can ask the teachers to read out the question to them again. A maths teacher was among the teachers overseeing the examination. I’m proud to be able to help. It is also a good experience for my own matriculation examination.”
Ma Wai Zar Khaing of Kyimyindine School for the Blind, who was sitting at Kyimyindine Basic Education High School No. (2) examination centre, said, “I’m from Natmauk. I’ve been here (Kyimyindine) for only three years. Back home, my vision was impaired and I didn’t know I could attend school (such as Kyimyindine). Because of this school, I attended school again and only when I was here, I learnt that there are students who are totally blind also attending school. Before that I didn’t know there was any education for the blind.”
In the 2017 academic year, eight students from Kyimyindine School for the Blind sat for the matriculation examination and six passed, of which, one passed with one distinction and another passed with two distinctions. Similarly, seven students from Mayangon School for the Blind (Kha We Chan) sat for the 2017 matriculation examination. Of the three that passed, one passed with a distinction.
Talking about the teachers he admires, Maung Htin Lin Aung said, “The persons I admire the most here are two teachers Saya Sein Ba Htway and Saya Zaw Htway. They were the first who passed the matriculation examination from our Kyimyindine School for the Blind.” He then went back to Kyimyindine School for the Blind to prepare for the following day’s subject.
Despite their impaired visions, these youngsters are acquiring a bright future through education.
News – Ye Gaung and Zaw Gyi
Photo – Phoe Zaw