Policy Dialogue on Educational Issues of Visually Impaired Students
Songshoptaque arranged a Followup Diaglogue on educational constraints including the writer issue of visually impaired students at Chattagram Zila Porishad Auditorium on
March 24, 2009. Mr. Sawrav Barua, CEO of Songshoptaque, delivered an inaugural speech. The dialogue was presided over by Prof. Dr. A. Quashem, Professor of C.U, Department Bangla and Chainman of Songshoptaque. Dr. Mohammad Yusuf, Chairman, Chittagong Education Board was present as Chief guest, Dr. M. Shah Alam, Dean, Department of Law, CU and Dr. Gazi Salauddin, Dean, Department of Sociology, CU were the chief guest. Convener of Chattaram Nagorik Uddog Md. Idris was the moderator of the Followup Dialogue. Umme habiba Chowdhury, visually impaired student of the Department of Law,C.U was the key note speaker Chief reporter of The Daily Suprobhat Bangladesh Mr. M. Nasirul Haque, assistant director of PHTC Begum Rasheda Khatun and teacher Salauddin Ahmed, Abdus Samad of PHTC, ward commissioner Ad. Rehena Kabir Ranu, CSD president Md. Arifur Rahaman and Secretery Selim Nazrul, President of Barnali Mr. Saroj Kanti Das were also present in the Follwoup Dialogue. Visually impaired ICT specialist Mr. Vaskar Bhattacharia was the discussant of recourse panel. Many visually impaired students of different institutions and media persons were present and shared their experiences and opinion in the Followup Dialogue.
Besides many renowned journalists of national and local dailies covered the program giving special emphasis.
Recommendations from the Followup Dialogue program were as follows:
- Education boards, colleges, universities and concerned authorities will recruit writers for the visually impaired students.
- Educational institutions will form a group of trained and professional writers by utilizing the experience of neighboring countries and policies/acts should be revised/changed regarding this issue.
- The issue of recruitment of writers for the visually impaired students should appropriately be institutionalized.
- Information about required number of writers and their qualification from the high school up to the university level should be collected and preserved.
- Time in the examination hall should be allocated 3.5 hours instead of current 3 and 5 hours instead 4 at all level of examination (where it is applicable). Question and answer papers should reach the visually impaired students duly.
- Concerned boards/institutions/universities should bear the additional expenses of exam fee, accommodation etc for visually impaired students.
- Mathematics should be preserved as an optional subject for the visually impaired, deaf blind, autistic and psychophysically impaired students from class nine. A foreign language or ICT can be an appropriate alternative for them.
- Examination should be conducted through an audio or computer based systems along with the usual writers.
- Conservation of five percent (5%) quota for the disables in all educational institutions
- Gazette should be published for the conservation of one percent (1%) quota in B.C.S. exam and five percent (5%) in all government services in accordance with the declaration of the government.
- At least one government school in each metropolitan area should be specified for the visually impaired students under the combined education system.
- Brail books, audiocassettes and other necessary educational materials should be produced and distributed in accordance with the national disability policy and act (Jatyo Protibondhi Nitimala o Kallyan Aain).
- Readers for the visually impaired students should be recruited in the libraries of all educational institutions and Public libraries.
- Necessary amendment of the discriminative rule and acts for the visually impaired persons should be done.
- Employment opportunity should be created for the qualified visually impaired persons after a successful completion of academic study.
- Visually impaired students should be provided scholarships in all level of education.
- The authority of Chittagong University should accept the formerly submitted five point demand of the visually impaired students
- People with all kinds of disability should have easy access to the education of information and communication technology (ICT).
- The concerned City Corporations should bear the educational expenses of visually impaired students in the schools and collages operated by the city corporation authority.
- Information and communication technology should be made comprehensive for visually impaired students.
- Number of seats in PHT centers should be increased and infrastructure should be developed considering the type of disability.
- National Disability policy and Disability welfare act, 2001 should be implemented properly
- Government, NGOs/INGOs and media (both press and electronic) should extend their hand to address the issues of education for the disables.
It was a magnificent learning for SONGSHOPTAQUE that Disable Persons are Able in Different Ways. The disable children, adolescents are able to grow with self-confidence and self-direction, if they have access in potential opportunities with social dignity and rights. The people with disabilities could be pulled and turned as productive human resources and social capital in the main stream of development. The organization has also identified some basic right-based elements through its own invented process Dialogue and listen the Voice that disables (e.g. Blind, Deaf & dumb, Physically, Visually, Mentally, Intellectual disability & autism etc) have the same human needs as individuals with ability living in wider community. This types of human communication process turned SONGSHOPTAQUE with a new phenomenon of development intervention especially for the children, adolescents and youth males and females. The organization will cordially receive any sorts of suggestion/recommendation/donation from the organizations working in this field whatever in home and abroad for strengthening the activities running for the disable friends.
“SONGSHOPTAQUE has also been providing us continuous support for our easy access wherever we want to go and whatever we want to do.”…….Taslima.
Md. Nasir Uddin and Shamima Akter live at Muradpur Chittagong. They have five children including a son. Ironically all the daughters are visually impaired but their path for education never closed. Umme Salima & Umme Taslima got admitted at class nine in Bangladesh Forest Research School, Sholoshahar, Chittagong in 2003 after a successful completion of class eight from PHTC Muradpur, Chittagong. Besides, they are the members of SONGSHOPTAQUE cultural squad.
Eldest Habiba studies law at the University of Chittagong. They were inspired to be educated like Habiba. But administrative complexity made some obstacles in their way of study, as they were unable to fill up the form of SSC examination. The school authority showed negligence and made dilly dally on this matter as what they argued that they need separate writer, separate hall, separate teacher etc. Their attitude was very inhumane indicating that they were unequal to other students. It was merely possible for Mr. Nasir Uddin, their guardian and a small timber trader, to manage the school authority to solve the problem.
Taslima and Salima informed this matter SONGSHOPTAQUE duly. SONGSHOPTAQUE along with CSD and CLIF (an alliance of 20 development organizations) came forward to address this issue. SONSHOPTAQUE made a contact with and gave a memorandum to the authorities concerned including headmistress of the school, school governing body, controller and chairman of Chittagong Education Board, Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong, Ministry of education, Ministry of Social welfare and finally the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Several programs including a human chain were arranged addressing this issue. Different development organizations, representatives of civil society, electronic and printing media and disables participated in this program.
Several dailies including the daily Bhorer Kagoj and other local dailies published news highlighting the issue. After that Chittagong Board authority took the matter seriously as it is a humanitarian issue but the school authority remained stable in their decision. After a long movement & advocacy of SONGSHOPTAQUE, Chittagong Board Authority permitted them to seat for the examination and passed duly with CGPA 3.44.
In Taslima’s voice, “I am grateful and thankful to SONGSHOPTAQUE for their dedicative role to make bound board authority for allowing us seat for examination. Not only this, SONGSHOPTAQUE has also been providing us continuous support for our easy access wherever we want to go and whatever we want to do. Now I have got admission in Kapasgola City Corporation College.”