Watertown, MA – December 4, 2017 – As part of the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Perkins School for the Blind is proud to announce partnerships in Russia, Indonesia and across Latin America to train educators through Perkins International Academy. This innovative teacher training program is part of Perkins’ global effort to educate 6 million of the world’s most vulnerable children by equipping educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively teach youth with multiple disabilities and visual impairment, including deafblindness.
Russia, which will begin offering Perkins International Academy courses at the beginning of 2018, has signed on to educate nearly 300 teachers from 40 different provinces around the country. Perkins also recently signed an agreement with Indonesia's Ministry of Education and Culture, where 90 teachers will complete training before the end of the year. The Academy has also run additional courses in Argentina, El Salvador and Mexico, training teachers from the three host countries and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru. In addition, Perkins is currently in conversations with over two dozen countries around the globe whose populations could greatly benefit from similar partnership opportunities.
“We are delighted to partner with Perkins International Academy. This opportunity will significantly increase the number of Russian specialists with the international background capable of ensuring the educational progress of children who are deafblind,” says Dmitry Polikanov, President of the Russian Deaf-blind Support Fund. “Last year, Russia introduced new educational standards for children with disabilities, which require new, innovative training and adaptation of existing programs. Working jointly on this effort with Perkins presents the clearest path towards meeting the needs of our deafblind population.”
Launched in June at the United Nations, Perkins International Academy is aligned with the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The program is working to meet Sustainable Development Goal 4 by empowering people with disabilities and fulfilling the rights of the world’s most vulnerable children to a quality and inclusive education. For many regions around the world, Perkins International Academy represents the first-ever certified training course in multiple disabilities and deafblindness education.
“Since launching Perkins International Academy a short six months ago, we are pleased with the strong reception we’ve received from governments and ministries of education around the world,” said Michael Delaney, Executive Director of Perkins International. “These partnerships are integral to our efforts of building an international network of compassionate, qualified educators who are determined to reach 6 million of the world’s most vulnerable children. It is our moral obligation to provide all young people with their human right to a quality education. We look forward to further collaboration that will make our shared goals a reality.”
The need is urgent. Currently, 6 million children and young adults (ages 0-24) around the world with multiple disabilities and visual impairment are in need of special education. In countries with scarce resources, educational programs for children with multiple disabilities are often insufficient or nonexistent. Furthermore, teachers without specialized training often struggle to meet the unique needs of visually impaired students, particularly those with multiple disabilities. By partnering with these communities around the globe, and giving them access to resources that can fully prepare their teachers, Perkins International Academy is aiming to resolve these challenges.
”This training has the ability to open both the minds and the hearts of teachers,” says Grace Chintia Novita, a Perkins International Academy trained teacher from Indonesia. “It teaches new ways to modify curriculums, as well as new activities that are applicable in a deafblind classroom. Most significantly, it helps teachers better understand their students as the unique human beings they are, deserving of an education that suits both their needs and their individual abilities.”
Perkins School for the Blind
Since 1829, Perkins’ global mission has fostered access and inclusion through education. We are committed to preparing our students for the world – and the world for our students – because we believe every person can maximize their independence and fulfill their unique potential. Learn more at Perkins.org.