Brian Kingston who saw the world through education | Sunday Observer

Brian Kingston who saw the world through education

10 October, 2021

We have heard about students who have passed the G.C.E Ordinary Level examination with flying colours. But students such as Dewmi are rare because they have proved that nothing is impossible. This article is about another courageous student. He is none other than Brian Kingston who is blind by birth. Brian Kingston who studies at the School for the Blind at Ratmalana has obtained nine As at the G.C.E Ordinary Level examination, proving that blindness is no barrier. Brian who was born on February 28, 2004 in Colombo lives in Mattakkuliya. Though his fate has robbed the light of his world by snatching the vision of his eyes, he saw the beauty of this world through the light of education.

Mother’s love and teachers’ guidance

Brian has an elder brother who studies at Wesley College in Colombo. He is also not second to Brian in studies. Surely, we have heard about the mother-squirrel that made attempts to dry up the massive ocean by dipping her tail in the ocean and brushing it on the sand with the hope of saving her own baby squirrel’s life.

This story tells about a mother’s love and affection towards her children. Brian’s mother, Amal Priya had taken Brian to all the hospitals and tried all possible medication in order to cure his eyes. Sadly, nothing worked. Eventually she became determined to open Brian ‘ s eyes through education. “My mother sent me to the school for the blind at Rathmalana.

I had to start my studies from the nursery level because I attended the school at the age of six. On the request of my mother, I was allowed to sit for the grade three examination. Fortunately, I passed the examination and was promoted to the grade two. My mother is always behind my achievements. Certainly, it would have been impossible for me to achieve my goal without my mother’s dedication. My mother dedicated her entire life to me.” Brian said. Moreover, it is evident that Brian had distinguished himself in both studies and sports. The medals and certificates will bear testimony to his talents. Brian could obtain 164 marks at the Grade Five Scholarship Examination. Surprisingly he had not attended any tuition class.

“I learned Braille with the help of my mother. My mother helped me to practise Braille at home.” Brian said. Speaking of Brian ‘ s involvement in sports, we cannot forget about his mother’s support. His mother has played with Brian on the school ground to eliminate his fear. Unfortunately, Brian Kingston had to face a sea of troubles in achieving his goals.

In the year 2020 he got infected with Dengue and had to receive medical treatment. Brian Kingston is called “Walking question paper” because he always asks questions. He absorbs knowledge from others by asking questions. My son is an explorer because he asks questions.

If you point out a chair, he asks everything about the chair. When he was preparing for his O/L’s, he watched educational programs on You Tube to strengthen his knowledge. Even his teachers had told me that Brian is more curious of any subject and showers teachers with questions. Except for that, Brian wanted to study Buddhism as well.

“We are Catholic but Brian is interested in studying Buddhism. I am proud of my son.” His mother said. When asked about his teachers’ guidance, there is no doubt that teachers had made a tremendous effort to teach all the students.

“I have to remember my teachers. My Sinhala teacher is Rani teacher who taught me the basics of the Sinhala Language from A to Z. I am a Tamil student but she taught me in such a way that anyone could understand. And Dhammika teacher also taught me Sinhala from Grade eight. She taught me Sinhala literature. Shermila teacher and Michelle teacher taught me English. I am indebted to all the teachers, Renu teacher, Chathuri teacher, and Dhammika teacher.”

He said. In addition, as noted by the Sinhala Language teacher Dhammika Priyadarshani, Brian always attempts to build up his knowledge by asking questions. “There can’t be seen thousands of students in our school. Therefore, we have a good relationship with every student. We can identify all the students. The one specialty which I noticed in Brian is the fact that we can easily teach him because he asks questions. When I taught Sinhala, I never felt that Brian is a Tamil student. It is because he can use the language properly. He can write short stories in Sinhala. I am sure that Brian will get into a good position in the country.” She said.

If regarded from his mother’s perspective, It is evident that Brian’s mother always answers all his questions without ignoring any question. It is because she is aware of the importance of asking questions. Sadly, at present most parents tend to ignore children’s questions by handing a mobile phone. Indeed we can learn many lessons from Brian’s mother. As pointed out by one of the psychologists Saw Wass, as children grow up it is natural to be curious of the world around them.

The research conducted by Belgrade University had revealed that the questions raised by children can be divided into three types. Such as cognitive question, social question and operational question. Moreover, the same study had revealed that asking questions is a good sign.

Problems faced by vision impaired students

We know that 71% of vision impaired persons can receive a proper education. Out of them, only 6% persons can continue their studies beyond the G.C.E Ordinary Level examination.

True that the Government should take measures to uphold the country’s braille literacy. As revealed by Brian Kingston, the highest taxes imposed on the tools such as Braille typewriters and recorders are not affordable for many. As a result, most vision impaired students tend to give up studies.

In addition, they are facing numerous difficulties in answering the illustration related questions which appear in the G.C.E Ordinary Level science paper.

“I would like to make a request to the Government to consider the structure of the O/L science paper because we cannot answer the illustration related questions. Many students tend to skip those questions.” Brian said. When asked about his future ambition he said, “I want to become a lawyer.”

Brian’s message

Already, Brian has proved that it is possible to challenge fate. “ Identify your talents and try to improve them. If you are good in your studies, focus on your studies and prioritise your goals.” Brian said. No doubt that Brian saw the reality of this world through the light of education. His world is deeper than our phantasy. But I still wonder why we use terms such as Anda Vidyalaya, ‘Golu Madama Handiya to refer to the school for the blind at Ratmalana. The time has dawned for us to re-think. Indeed, children like Brian are not blind.