Uniservitate Award, a global program which recognizes the best Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) that involve the younger generation to address contemporary challenges, recently lauded Filipino Interior Design students and educators in creating an inclusive classroom adapted to the needs of the blind and visually impaired.
The Uniservitate Award 2022 for Asia and Oceania regional hub commended TANAW: Breaking Barriers for Blind and Visually Impaired Students through Multi-Sensory and Experiential Design. A renovation project, it transformed the e-Learning Resource Center of The Philippine National School for the Blind (PNSB), a special institution for visually challenged junior and senior high schoolers, into an educational multisensory experience.
The 63-square meter expanse’s core feature is an interactive wall to encourage sensory learning that can be touched, rearranged and played with to stimulate auditory and kinesthetic senses. The flooring was specifically designed to encourage continuous accessible path of travel and notifies to take caution when approaching a change in zone.
The room provides audio-visual aids and online materials and is equipped with assistive features such as Braille system for digital learning. High contrasting hues were considered to allow better identification of various areas and furniture. For easy navigation, the room has an open space with no physical partitions. It likewise houses a teacher’s desk and workstations with supplies and facilities. The center is complete with an array of bookshelves, a computer area, a reading nook and an announcement board.
The renovation was made possible by 24 Interior Design students from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, guided by Benilde Interior Design educators IDr. Randy Pabona and IDr. Maria Celiza Sim, who were all motivated with the mission to promote inclusive education and empathetic design to foster growth and development among those with specific needs.
The team was comprised of Pamela Aldaba, Jallf Alora, Andro Bonoan, Nina Cabral, Dan Camus, Moira Campoy, Andrea De Castro, Janus De Guzman, Katrina Del Rosario, Martin Dena and Sophia De Jesus.
The roster was completed by Nigel Delos Santos, Tommy Escay, Jennifer Gongora, Raven Landicho, Nicole Lopez, Krishna Loquinte, Se Vin Moon, Jazel Ong, Arrah Pamintuan, Nicole Quiat, Paola Sarmiento, Margaux Sia and Katrina Viloria.
The college likewise received an Honorable Mention for FLECORP Corporate and Non-Cinematic Filmmaking, an initiative that aims to produce audiovisual material to help non-government organizations to communicate to the world.
Uniservitate also awarded the Australian Catholic University (Australia) for the Solomon Islands Teacher Education Immersion Program, which focuses on improving the quality of education in the territory through teacher training.
Another Honorable Mention was granted to Don Bosco University (India) for a project on water purification entitled Bixudha Jol Asoni “Safe drinking water for all”.
The winners were selected by a jury of leading figures in the field of education, who screened the entries on the basis of their quality, replicability and ability to inspire other initiatives.
Coordinated by CLAYSS (Latin American Center for Service-Learning) and Porticus, in adhesion to the Global Compact on Education, the global network of Uniservitate is present in 26 countries on five continents through partnerships with over 30 higher education institutions. The regional hub for the Asia and Oceania was represented by the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) of the De La Salle University.