Braille Reading and Writing Skills of Students at Sebeta Primary School for the Blind

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Braille is a system of touch reading and writing that is the most important tool and has power to change significantly the history of blindness. Originally, Braille was used by soldiers that called night reading. But nowadays, Braille reading and writing skills have become crucial in schools for the blind and others too. This study aimed at assessing students‟ Braille Reading and Braille writing skills and identified challenges hindering those skills. The study considered students (grades 1 to 4), Braille teachers, school principals and SNE resource center coordinator at Sebeta School for the blind in the academic year of 2019/2020. Using purposive sampling, 3 Braille teachers, 2 school principals and 1 SNE resource center coordinator were selected. After that from the populations of students of grades 1 to 4 were purposively selected, 69 samples of students were selected by systematic sampling. Also, 2 principals, 3 teachers and 1 SNE resource center coordinator were selected purposively. The design for the study was a descriptive survey type guided by three research questions. The research questions were answered using qualitative and quantitative while any significant differences in students Braille skills were tested using independent samples t-test from the data collected through Braille reading and writing test results of students. Although statistically significant difference was detected in reading Braille in English and Afan Oromo, the result showed that Students‟ BR and BW skills appeared poor and their reading rate seemed very slow. Regarding BW, students‟ skills were found to be poor both in Afan Oromo and English. The responses obtained from principals‟ interview and students‟ FGD indicated the same finding as the test results. Challenges to BR and BW skills of students were found to be unarranged sittings and desks in classrooms, uncomfortable arm chairs in the classrooms, inadequate resources, lecture method delivery approach, uncomfortable classroom situation, students‟ lack of awareness and support in BR and BW activities, disorganized SNE resource center and learners‟ lack of experiences in using their fingers during BR. Also, lack of Braille skilled teachers and schools principals, school promotion policy were other challenges that contributed to the poor Braille skills of students. In general, there were BR and BW skill gaps in the school. To solve the problems recommendation were given: To enhance BR and writing skills, schools need to provide more skill trainings, sufficient learning support, educational resources, teaching aids, organized classrooms and other required physical facilities in schools for the Blind. SNE teachers training colleges and universities need to give a great emphasis on Braille skills when training primary school teachers and principals. It was also recommended that BR and BW skills need to be included in teachers‟ CPD in schools for the blind. Further, it would be better if schools for the blind provide continuous service Braille trainings to Braille teachers



The study considered students (grades 1 to 4), Braille teachers