People with disabilities still face difficulties at university hinh anh 1Students of the Medical and Pharmaceutical University under Thai Nguyen University attend a class in which multimedia equipment is used to improve two-way exchange between students and lecturers. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - After graduating from high school, Le Minh Tu, who has a hearing impairment, enrolled in college in Ho Chi Minh City and paid an interpreter to help her study.

“But I really couldn’t afford to pay,” Tu said via an interpreter at a conference held on October 23 in HCM City that discussed access to education to people with disabilities.

“My father and I fell into despair,” Tu said.

However, she did not want to give up the dream of studying at university, so she convinced her father to let her apply to another university.

Van Hien University admitted her and hired an interpreter to support her after the first week of study, Tu said.

Nguyen Ngoc Hiep, who is visually impaired and a student at HCM City University of Pedagogy, said the shortage of textbooks and documents used for visually impaired students was the common barrier in studying.

Students also face difficulties using buses to go to universities.
“I can’t see the bus numbers,” Hiep said, adding that the bus drivers had often passed by him without picking him up.

Ha Le An, deputy director of the city Public Transport Management and Operation Center, said that universities should compile a list of their students with disabilities who need to go to school by bus.

The list should be sent to the centre, An said, adding that it would be sent to its staff to universities to provide a free card for students with disabilities to go by bus.
The city is piloting a system with LED screens that will announce which buses are coming to the station in order to help people with hearing or visual impairments.

Phan Thi Rat, who has a physical disability and graduated from HCM City Open University three years ago, said: “Climbing stairs at the university was a nightmare for me.”

Many other people with disabilities have complained that universities had not exempted tuition fees. Only those with severe disabilities have received exemptions.

They suggested that universities open a division to support people with disabilities and provide more funds for students with disabilities.

The country has 6.1 million people aged 5 and above with at least one disability in seeing, listening, motor skills or others, accounting for 7.8 percent of the country’s total population, according to the Population and Housing Census of 2009, the latest census available.

Of the 6.1 million of people with disabilities, only 0.1 percent have graduated from universities and colleges, according to census reports.

The conference was held by the HCM City-based Disabilities Research and Capacity Development (DRD) Centre to seek solutions to improve access to education for people with disabilities.-VNA