Accessibility hurdles creating barriers for PwD students in colleges
To study in the top colleges of India is the dream of many students. The students have to score extremely good marks in their board exams to get admission in the top colleges. People with disabilities are not able to realize this dream, due to lack of infrastructure facilities in the colleges which forces them to take admission in other colleges, which have better infrastructure facilities.
This happened with me personally, where I had to take admission in some other college, due to lack of infrastructure facilities in one of the top colleges of Delhi. I am physically challenged and on a wheelchair, ramps and lifts are a necessity for students like me to attend college regularly.
The problems faced by PWD students largely pertain to accessibility, which is leading to their exclusion from the mainstream discourse. The ramp of the college canteen and the is not properly constructed. There are many places in the college which don’t even have a tactile path for the visually impaired. This is excluding students with disabilities from the spaces of the college.
There have been various applications in this regard, which seldom receive any meaningful response. A memorandum had been summited by Students Federation of India (SFI), which sought to bring the attention of the college authorities towards the accessibility issued faced by PWD students in canteen and seminar hall. The authorities had then stated the problem of “funds” in resolving these issues.
The University Grants Commission had started a scheme called “Higher Education for persons with special needs”. It is clearly stated in the objectives of HEPSN is “to equip higher educational institutional institutions with the facilities that provide access to differently-abled students. There are wide gaps between theory and practice, which is restricting the opportunities for PWD students to access the facilities. This can only be addressed when there is sensitization amongst the student community about these issues, which is missing presently because there are very few PWD students in the college, who mostly hang out in their own groups.
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