“It is very diffi cult for students and teachers who use wheelchairs to move around on campuses as there are no ramps, special washrooms or transport facilities for wheelchair users,” said Muhammad Imran, a lecturer in Federal University of Arts Sciences & Technology.
Mr Imran, who had been a student at Quaid-i-Azam University, said that almost all public sector universities have a fixed admission quota for disabled students, but there are no facilities for them.
He is among hundreds of physically disabled students and teachers who have to face difficulties because of lack of facilities at Islamabad’s educational institutions.
Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed told Dawn that construction of universities in the future will keep the needs of students with special needs in mind. “I agree that this is big issue and it’s our responsibility to provide maximum facilitation to special students,” he said, He added that some universities of Islamabad have ramps for special students.
Like Muhammad Imran, Syed Iman Ali Shah, another student with a physical disability said that special students need special attention by policy makers. “Providing facilities to special students is not difficult for universities, but no one bothers to take this issue seriously,” he said. Another disabled student, who did not wish to be named, said he faces humiliation and difficulty when climbing aboard vans and buses. “I have to seek help from other people to get on buses and vans. Tell me constructing a small slope at a bus stop or putting a ramp at the door of a bus is difficult for the government. It’s not. The fact is, one cares about people like me,” he said.
Text by Kashif Abbasi
Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2014