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History of the School for the Hearing Impaired in Valašské Meziříčí

Regional Institution for the Deaf-Mute in Valašské Meziříčí was established by the act of the National Assembly initiated by Karel Richter on November 11, 1906. The construction of a new school building started in June 1909 and the whole building was completed in incredible two years.
Antonín Schell was named the first Headmaster on December 13, 1912. The new Regional Institution for the Deaf-Mute was open on January 3, 1911 by the service in the local church. The institute was originally designed for up to 120 pupils divided into eight grades. There were ten teachers, Headmaster and Catechist working in the institute. Oral method, based on practising isolated phones, syllables and words, was exercised as a dominant teaching approach. A training programme put great emphasis on manual skills, which were taught by tailors, carpenters, shoemakers and seamstresses.

During the World War, the institute was given at the disposal of the Emperor’s Army Force. There were 500 wounded soldiers placed there. In 1919 the hospital was moved away and the institute returned to its former purpose.
In the 30´s, Craft Design Technology came to a great importance. Girls were taught by the first woman-teacher in the fields of hand binding, wood carving, wicker work, basketry, ceramics, dress making, shoe making or gardening.
In the academic year 1931-32, the first preparatory class was established. Its purpose was to prepare the youngest pupils for entering the first grade of a primary school.
In the academic year 1936-37, some teachers from the institute made a trip to Budapest, where they acquainted themselves with a method of diagnostics of hearing impairment and with the Barczi´s method representing new educational approaches to the Deaf-Mute. At that time, a collective amplifying device was installed and used for the first time in the school.
During September and October 1938, all pupils were sent home as a result of mobilisation, and the classrooms changed into the wards of a military hospital.
In February 1940, half of the building was taken by the German Army, the other half could be used as the school again. By the end of 1944, schooling was entirely stopped.
The military hospital took over the whole building. Teaching could start again on October 15, 1945. There were 102 pupils divided into eleven classes at that time.
In 1948, the school was renamed Basic School For the Deaf and established as a national institution. The schooling was carried out mainly using a combination of writing and natural gestures as a special method in accordance with valid curriculum. Lip-reading and active speech were practised in connection with graphic symbols and visual aids.
During 1954, Headmaster Antonín Konečný played an important role in laying out the curriculum for the Czech Language, Mathematics and History focused on and designed for special education of the Hearing Impaired.
The school was provided with the best equipment, a new audio-room and Nursery School were established. There was also a number of further improvements in educational approaches. The finger alphabet appeared in building speech and vocabulary development by oral method.
In 1976, Pavla Odstrčilíková became the first headmistress of the school. She devoted a great deal of her effort to increase the quality of “surdopedy” work – education of the Hearing Impaired. Correct articulation and pronunciation, lip-reading, comprehension check and reproduction of written texts were enforced. Speech Training as a new part of afternoon activities was introduced in the Boarding House.
In August 1981, Oldřich Indrák was appointed the new Headmaster of the school.
At about the same time, a general repair of the building interior started. That reconstruction resulted in a serious damage of an architectonic style of the building.
In 1987, Training Institute of Electrical Engineering was established.
After the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, the current Headmaster was dismissed and replaced by Mojmír Vraj, who had been working here as a teacher. He vitally contributed to the renovation of the school chapel.
In 1991, the Training Institute enlarged upon Secondary School of Electrical Engineering.
Our current Headmaster Petr Šulák was appointed on September 1, 1992 at the decision of the selection comittee established by the Ministry of Education.
At present the school is formed by three schools – Nursery School, Primary School, Secondary School and Centre for Special Education. Our school provides facilities of the highest quality. Investments in the last few years help us to give our pupils and students the equal conditions that can lead to excellent achievements.
In the years since its foundation our school has become one of Czech´s best institutions for the Hearing Impaired education with national and even international reputation.