Blind student thrives in poly, thanks to support
Republic Polytechnic has about 300 special-needs students
He lost his sight after surviving stage four eye cancer when he was two years old.
But that is not stopping Republic Polytechnic (RP) student John Danesh, 18, from pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer.
The diploma in social enterprise and management student is among about 300 special needs students in RP and the first who is completely blind.
Yet, John, who is in his second year, topped three modules in his course.
He attributes this to the support network he has at school.
He told The New Paper: "I am grateful to my mentor, lecturers and friends who have helped me in school, be it with classwork materials or navigating around the poly."
The problem-based learning approach - where students work in teams to solve problems in class daily - has also been a boon to him, as he gets to research topics on his own.
"The (problem-based learning) experience has been enlightening... most of my modules are interesting," he added.
Beyond that, RP has a support system to help students with disabilities.
John, for example, is exempted from course modules that are heavily visual-based.
Teaching methods and materials are also customised to accommodate his learning needs.
He has a software installed in his laptop to decipher content, and the programme chair of his course and lecturers will reformat materials for him.
For instance, pictures will include captions so John can understand the content.
Graphs can be converted to Braille.
Mr Fong Yew Chan, RP's senior director of student services, said: "In RP, we have an inclusive learning environment, students with special educational needs are given the necessary support and accommodation to pursue their studies unencumbered."
RP's support system has benefited students such as John. He contributes to team assignments and presentations like any other student, said Mr Peter Lee, his mentor and lecturer.
Mr Lee told TNP: "I was initially worried as I had no experience, but the school is supportive and it sends us for training to learn how to interact with these students and teach them.
"He (John) is just like any other student who is hardworking, knowledgeable and up to date with current affairs."