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From ramps, lifts and specially-designed washrooms to installation of specialised software, Delhi University is making an effort to equip itself with facilities for its differently-abled students.

“With more specially-abled students coming to the university every year, the provision for ramps, lifts, special washrooms, wheelchair-friendly paths and special software have been made available in many colleges in the north and south campuses,” Nisha Singh, officer on special duty (OSD) at the varsity’s Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC), told.

A total of 535 disabled students have registered for admission this year so far in Delhi University, which has 77 colleges and over 54,000 students. The new academic year starts July 21.

According to Singh, the majority of disabled students are visually impaired or have orthopaedic problems.

“There are some students with hearing problems and a few are dyslexic. These students mainly opt for courses like Hindi (Honours), political science (Honours), History (Honours), BA Programme and BCom,” she said.

“Special computers with software like ‘Job Access With Speech’ (JAWS), special washrooms and ramps are provided to make the college campus disabled-friendly,” said Manasvini Yogi from the Indraprastha College for Women.

“EOC volunteers are present all the time for any kind of help, but even other students are so helpful.”Rakshana Shroff, advisor (students welfare) at Lady Shri Ram College, said: “Scholarships are provided to these students and those from financially backward families are taken care of.”According to the EOC, SGBT Khalsa College and Mata Sundri College have provision of lifts for the disabled. At the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), the first floor canteen is being shifted to the ground floor to make it accessible to such students.

EOC has also appointed special coordinators in each college for helping the disabled students and workshops are being conducted by the coordinators. The fees for the physically handicapped students too is kept low.

“EOC has arranged five short term courses for the students, which will begin in August. The subjects are sign language, communicative English, Information Communication Technology (ICT), disabled human rights and classes for news reading, anchoring and cinematography,” Singh said.”The fees for these courses vary from Rs.500 to Rs.5,000 for the physically challenged students. Capacity building classes are also conducted for the disabled students to prepare them for competitive exams,” she added.V.S. Khan, administrative officer at Gargi College, said: “Apart from other facilities, the auditorium here is disabled friendly and writers are provided for visually impaired students during exams. This year, three students have taken admission in the physically handicapped category, and we will make sure they face no difficulties in studies or commuting.”

Singh, however, adds that much more needed to be done and the EOC is writing to all colleges for providing facilities like lifts and ramps.

“Things are changing for the good. Earlier, parents did not encourage the special children for higher studies and treated them as good for nothing, but today, after many years of struggle, people’s attitude has changed. Many of these students have proved themselves by being successful in their areas of interest,” she added

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