On equal ground: Visually impaired demand ‘education emergency’

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There is no institute for students with physical disabilities wanting to pursue higher education in the province.

While a total of nine institutions provide education to physically impaired children across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), none offers education after matriculation. As a result many children have demanded the government to impose an ‘education emergency’ and provide them with adequate facilities.

Five institutions provide them education until the primary level and three others go on till middle school, with Special Education Complex (SEC) in Peshawar being the only institute that teaches up until matriculation.

“We have been promised funds in the next annual development programme, and it has been proposed that all special education facilities be upgraded to the high school level at least,” said SEC Director Syed Jalal, adding that the government needs to establish intermediate level institutions as well.

Those who are physically impaired, Jalal said, have the option to study further at technical educational institutions. However, individuals with visual impairments can only sit at home once they are done with their matriculation. Jalal added that the government has now also allocated funds for a braille press.

“The federal capital has been provided with a college where people with an average income cannot even think of sending their children,” said Jalal. “The government needs to not only establish these institutions in K-P, but also upgrade existing ones.”

“We do not consider ourselves less than others. We want to be able to study like those who have hundreds of educational institutions [to choose from],” said a student of SEC with visual impairment, Sumbul Ali. Her father Shahid Khan said there was a dire need to set up colleges for students with visual impairments, since a majority of them are keen on getting a higher education.

“Besides imposing an ‘education emergency’ in the province, the government also needs to focus on those who have even fewer facilities available to them,” said Khan.

Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Social Welfare Meher Taj Roghani told The Express Tribune the department has been completely neglected in the past, adding that they are planning to establish a college for students with physical disabilities which will be affiliated with a university. 

Source: The Express Tribune