Haifa University visit to Masaryk University
Working visit to Masaryk university, Brno, Czech Republic - 4-7 September 2016
A small delegation from the University of Haifa together with a specialist in the field of disabilities from Georgia visited the Teiresias Centre in Masaryk University, Brno in the Czech Republic. The delegation was comprised of staff members from the Dean of Students Office and Faculty of Education at Haifa University:
- Mr Haim Kaplan, Head of Interdisciplinary Centre, Clinic Department
- Ms Nitza Aria, Coordinator of Accessible Services
- Dr. Michal Shecter-Lerner, staff member at YHAEL (Learning Disabilities Centre)
- Ms Kalanit Kleemer, Head of the Academic Excellence Unit
- Dr. Galit Caduri, DARE’s project manager.
We met Dr Petr Peňáz the Director of Teiresias Centre and its staff who warmly welcomed us and were keen to share with us their knowledge and dreams. The centre specialises in providing support services for students with special needs. The purpose of the visit was to learn from the staff of the Centre good practices and how they outreach students with special needs. We learned about the history of the Teiresias Centre and received a basic introduction to services provided to students with special needs at Masaryk University and their financing plans. We also learned about international mobility of students with special needs and the diagnostic process and services for students with dyslexia and psychological disorders. A few sessions focused on the use of technology for the service of people with visual and hearing impairment. The IT staff of the centre presented us assistive technologies such as a system for distribution of synchronous transcription in real-time, accessible documents, braille encoding, tactile graphics. An interesting session was on sign language and interpreting services and speech-to-text reporting. Some of the sessions were interpreted by Czech sign language interpreter since the presenters were using sign language in their presentation. We also visited the unique library of the centre which includes digital texts, hybrid books and hundreds of manuscripts in Braille (even maps!). In addition, we were presented with the sign language dictionary (which was really amazing) and the development of special language courses for students with special needs.
We also spent one day in the Language Centre learning from the Head of the centre Dr Libor Stepanek on their activities and the collaboration between them and Teiresias centre in cases of students with special needs.
The city is wonderful and we had the chance to hear local music, eat well and taste the local beer (which is great!). We are very grateful for this unique opportunity to learn so much and at the same time enjoy. we’re looking forward to collaborating with the Centre in the near future.