Sunday, June 17, 2007

University to accept visually impaired students

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) is expected to start accepting visually handicapped students from next year, the second university in the country to do so after Universiti Malaya.

This will be made possible under the RM60,000 “We Care” project to be jointly undertaken by AIESEC UUM and St Nicholas Home Penang.

AIESEC UUM (AIESEC is an international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential to have a positive impact in society) and St Nicholas Home will make the necessary preparations to enable the university to accept visually handicapped students from its July 2008 intake.

At the project’s agreement signing ceremony at St Nicholas Home here on Monday, project director Cheng Tee Chuan said they were currently working on creating awareness of “equal education opportunity” within the campus.

“We will also hold roadshows at selected secondary schools for the visually impaired to encourage their students to pursue higher education,” she said.

Cheng said they would start the “hardware preparation” early next year.

“We will have to provide tactile paths and railings to make it convenient for the visually-impaired to move around,” she said, adding that St Nicholas Home would prepare the examination papers in Braille and help mark them.

The home’s executive director Ooi Chee Khoon said a team led by its training and social services division manager Wong Yoon Loong went to audit the university’s campus accessibility to the blind in March.

“Other than providing our expertise, we will also train UUM staff and students to cope with the blind community,” Ooi said.

Wong said not many physical changes were needed for UUM to cater to the visually handicapped.
UUM’s Human and Social Development Faculty dean Assoc Prof Azmi Shaari said most of the university’s management courses as well as its Information Technology, Communications and Law programmes were suitable for blind students.


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