HKDSE 2019: Top scores from a visually impaired student show that having a disability is no barrier to academic excellence

HKDSE 2019: Top scores from a visually impaired student show that having a disability is no barrier to academic excellence

Tse Sze-man received the support of the Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired, which helped her develop effective study techniques

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Sharon Choi Lok-sze with Bene, her seeing eye dog on the day she received her HKDSE results.
Photo: Holly Chik/SCMP

A visually impaired student obtained a total score of 33 in her best five subjects, including 5** for Chinese, liberal studies and economics in this year’s HKDSE exams.

Tse Sze-man from the Hong Kong Taoist Association Tang Hin Memorial Secondary School says that her satisfying results have reminded her that she can achieve high goals despite her disability.

“I was thrilled and happy when I got my results. It was unexpected,” said Sze-man. “Teachers at my secondary school helped me improve my academic results from average to satisfying.”

Hong Kong's Ebenezer School and Home for the Visually Impaired’s greatest gift to its students is independence

Tse Sze-man received 33 points in the HKDSE exams, including top marks in Chinese, Liberal Studies and Economics.
Photo: Provided by Tse Sze-man

Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired, one of the only schools in the city for the visually impaired, also supported the student by helping her develop life skills and study techniques.

Another severely impaired student, Sharon Choi Lok-sze, also took the HKDSE exams this year, despite facing some challenges along the way.

Sharon, from Ying Wa Girls’ School, found mathematics to be the most difficult subject because it requires a lot of imagination to understand 3D graphs.

“I touch the graphs part by part, remember it, and picture it in the brain,” she said. Sharon transferred to Ying Wa Girls’ School from the Ebenezer School when she was in Form Two, and requires the help of her five-year-old seeing eye dog, Bene.

Although music is her favourite subject, Sharon said composing music took her a long time because she cannot see the layout of the score sheet.

She struggles to see clearly, but this student proves it's "okay to fail, but it is not okay to give up" - even if you have a disability

After inputting the score into a computer, Sharon would then show it to her classmates or teachers who would then point out any problems and suggest ways to improve it. She says that she enjoys singing and treats it as a way to release stress.

School teachers usually prepare notes in advance and send the student a soft copy or pass the notes to Ebenezer School, which would translate them to Braille, said Choi. That way she can always have the same materials at the same time as her classmates. Braille is a tactile writing system that allows visually impaired persons to read by touching raised dots on a page.

“[The school] just supports me, silently,” said Sharon. “I can do whatever I want to. I chose my electives myself.”

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