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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Blind student aims high

DETERMINATION: Ntsheiseng Stacey Keiso, a blind first-year student in Paralegal Studies, intends to uplift her community after obtaining her qualification DETERMINATION: Ntsheiseng Stacey Keiso, a blind first-year student in Paralegal Studies, intends to uplift her community after obtaining her qualification

A new student who lost her sight due to meningitis is determined to equip herself with skills and knowledge to uplift her community.

A Paralegal Studies student, Ntsheiseng Keiso or Stacey as she prefers to be called, is one of the two full-time students who are blind at CPUT.

The Bachelor of Paralegal Studies, which is the first degree of its kind on the continent, was recently launched and the three-year degree is offered by the Unit of Applied Law in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences and accommodates up to 100 registered students in its inaugural class of 2018.

In November 2014 Stacey went into a coma, and when she woke up in 2015 she had completely lost her sight due to meningitis.

CPUT is currently helping Stacey with transcribing her learning materials into audio. “Every time a lecturer hands out documents in class I ask them to send everything to the Disability Unit where I’ll get in audio after the lecture,” she says.

Stacey says, staying at the New Residence on the Bellville Campus is a new experience which brings about its own challenges that she also welcomes.

Prior to enrolling at CPUT, the Disability Unit felt it would be best for Stacey to first attend the League of Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) for independence training and computer skills where she spent six months.

“We referred Stacey there because she became blind so recently and had to learn these skills from a blind perspective. She was going to stay in residence so she would have to be independent, as such cook, do laundry and get to classes on her own,” says the unit’s Lillian Fortuin.

The other blind student is Joshua Preyser, a 2nd-year Information Technology student.

The process followed by the unit is to source textbooks in an electronic format that is compatible with the JAWS screen reading software program. If no electronic textbook is found then the unit scans pages that are needed and format them into a Word document.

The blind students write their exams and tests in the unit and its staff members will be scribing for Stacey during exams.

Visually-impaired students use computer labs which are equipped with large screen monitors as well as large font keyboards. We also have a Merlin magnifier that students can use during exam times or when they use the labs to read hard copy textbooks

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.