DU asks colleges to enforce guidelines to help disabled

Move to give differently abled access to special facilities

Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) in Delhi University has sent notifications to all the colleges and department heads to follow the mandatory persons with disabilities (PWD) guidelines.

According to an official, the guidelines are to be implemented in tandem with the high court’s decision, PWD Act and the mandatory United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disability (UNCRPD).

“We have recommended infrastructural additions and changes such as ramps, tactile paths, accessible toilets, lifts, Braille symbols, signage’s and auditory signals in lifts. There have been complaints from students, specially from off campus colleges about lack of infrastructural facilities for PWD students,” said a senior university official. He said each institution has to arrange volunteers for the purpose of reading and preparing assignments for visually-impaired students.

“The college heads can take help from National Social Service volunteers. The EOC also provides this service, however, we are not in a position to provide volunteers for all students,” said the official.

He added students with other disabilities should be provided with volunteers to assist them with their day-to-day activities.

The colleges have also been asked to offer assistive devices, hearing aids, wheelchairs, accessible computers and recording devices “for conversion of study material in accessible format”.

For the upcoming semester-end exams in November, EOC has asked for making special arrangements for differently abled students. “Facilities such as writers, interpreters, extra time and one invigilator for one student should be put in place. Students with disabilities should not be made to run here and there for any kind of problem,” added the official.

The differently abled are of the view that the university has not send a strong message of acting against the authorities in case they fail to enforce the guidelines.

“Time and again we have asked the officials to strictly provide necessary facilities. Accessible toilets, ramps and tactile paths are basic facilities for which we don’t have to keep begging being university students,” said Dinesh, a blind postgraduate student.
“Even the libraries of renowned colleges lack the basic assistive devices attached in the computers. Plus, the computers are old and hardly work,” he said.

Students also said despite sending repeated reminders to univeristy to provide them with scribes for exams, the colleges did not do so.

“In the end we have to find a scribe for ourselves. It is difficult to find students who will volunteer. If in case we get a scribe, then his qualification doesn’t match. Some of them cannot even write in English,” added Dinesh.

The official said as colleges work as autonomous entities, the varsity can only send them repeated requests.

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