May 29, 2008
Edmonton…Blind and visually impaired students will benefit from enhanced supports, thanks to $3.1 million in new funding by the Government of Alberta in each of the next three years. The new funding was announced as part of Budget 2008 and resulted from a service review Alberta Education conducted with stakeholders from across the province.
“Alberta’s K-12 students with vision loss require specialized support to complete their high school education and become independent. Providing that support is a priority for our government.” said Dave Hancock, Minister of Education. “Alberta Education is working with education stakeholders to create innovative learning resources and environments to further help these students succeed.”
Students with vision loss will benefit from the new funding as Alberta Education’s Learning Resources Centre staff and education stakeholders work to:
“CNIB thanks the government for listening and reacting so appropriately” said CNIB Vice President Bill McKeown. “Children in K-12 will now have better access to the technology, alternative format materials, and the skills they need to achieve at the same level as their sighted peers.”
Alberta schools serve 662 students who are blind or visually impaired. School authorities enrol these students and are responsible for providing them with education programming that meets their needs.
“The government is commended for recognizing this important and outstanding need, and providing these funds for the development of improved programming for these students,” said Kelly Baldock, president of the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired (ASVI). “We look forward to our continued collaboration on this initiative. ASVI believes that our children are in a much improved position for access to information and appropriate supports, and therefore equal opportunities that level the playing fields.”
The ASVI parent organization was established in 1971 to advocate for the needs of children who are blind or visually impaired. Alberta Education’s Learning Resources Centre plays a central role in supporting schools’ requests for the production of alternate format learning resources and loaning of special equipment for student use. Click here for more information about the LRC.
Facts/Stats on students who are blind or visually impaired
Organizations that participated in the Alberta Education Review of Services for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, on November 28, 2007
CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to public education, research, and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life while living with vision loss.