Students with disabilities pass hard time at RU

Visually-impaired students are not admitted
More than 100 students with disabilities at Rajshahi University find it difficult to pursue their studies as the university lacks the necessary facilities.
Their demands, which they raised to the authorities more than once, include reserved seats in the university transport, disabled-friendly lifts and toilets, slopes to get into the campus buildings and for movement in the multi-storey buildings, provision for admitting visually-impaired students, and educating the teachers, students and staff about being friendly and cooperative towards the students with disabilities.
They complained that the university so far did little to ease their plights.
Shahjalal Shyamal, a master’s degree student of mass communication and journalism with a walking difficulty, said that for him movement in the campus buildings with no slopes and lifts was a daily ordeal.
Sabekunnahar, a third year  public administration student and also with walking difficulties, demanded scholarships for the disabled students.
‘Although Dhaka University has begun giving scholarships to its disabled students our university still lags behind,’ she said.
The biggest limitation of RU in this regard, however, is the absence of a provision for the admission of blind students.
‘The university doesn’t even allow the blind to sit for the admission test,’ said Anisuzzaman Prince, RU unit president of the Physically-challenged Development Foundation and also a 2nd year law and justice student at the university.
Referring to the RU authorities, he said that since the university did not have the braille system, a method enabling the blind to read and write, it could not take students with visual impairment.    
While informing that the blind could get admission in Dhaka University he demanded that RU also set its rules and take necessary steps allowing the blind to get admission there.
Pranab Kumar Sarker, a second year physics student with a disabled hand, urged RU to increase its quota for admission of the physically handicapped students.
Abu Bakar Siddique Sumon¸ president of the association to protect the rights of the disabled students at RU, alleged that they were sometimes deprived of the seats which they were supposed to get under the quotas reserved for them.
RU registrar office sources said that every year it took more than 20 disabled students while in 2009-10 session a total of 37 students took admission.
However, they also said that every year some of these students dropped out as the university could not provide them with necessary facilities.
Some disabled students were too poor to continue their studies and had to leave as there was no financial assistance from the university or other sources, they said.
RU legal adviser Anisur Rahman stressed that its teachers, students and staff be educated in proper handling of the disabled students.
‘We don’t know how to make friends with them, how to treat them as our fellow beings,’ he said.
The members of the association to protect the rights of the disabled students at RU met the vice-chancellor Abdus Sobhan recently with their different demands.
RU registrar Abdul Bari said that the university expected to introduce scholarships for the disabled in 2012 along with an increase in the admission quota from its present two per cent to three of the total students to be admitted.
RU students’ adviser Golam Sabbir Satter informed that the authorities were considering the inclusion of facilities necessary for the disabled in its future buildings.
He also gave assurance that they would take gradual steps to improve the situation for their disabled students.

-With New Age input

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