Around 100 Delhi University (DU) students with disabilities of will go abroad next year, Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh said at the closing ceremony of Badhte Kadam — a nationwide campaign to raise awareness regarding disability — on the university campus on Tuesday.
“It is a historic decision. For the first time, a university will take students with disabilities on such a trip,” Officer on Special Duty of DU Equal Opportunity Cell Bipin Kumar Tiwary said.
Elaborating on the nature of the trip, he said, “It will be an educational trip, through which students will be able to experience the facilities available in foreign universities and make projects on what they observe. They will return to Delhi University and see how similar facilities can be provided here.”
Singh said: “Such a campaign will awaken the nation. I can see some school children here. In the future, I hope they join Delhi University. We will provide them with all facilities possible.”
In the past six months, DU has taken many steps with regard to students with disabilities, such as exemption of tuition and hostel fees and a reduction in mess charges.
“Apart from the 3 per cent reservation in university hostels, we have increased the number of seats for students with disabilities. They do not have to pay tuition fees. Despite many attempts, some colleges are not following the rules. However, we will ensure that these rules are strictly adhered to,” Singh said.
DU had earlier asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to provide these students free Metro cards with centralised recharging and blocking features.
DU also plans to provide free netbooks with screen-reading software to these students.
“The netbooks have been bought and will be given to students in a few days,” Singh said.
DU students with disabilities had also visited the Wagah border and stayed at Army camps as part of Gyananodyaya, an educational train journey, in October.
A first-year Political Science (Honours) student at Gargi College, Gunjan Agarwal, said, “The best part of the trip was the manner in which we were welcomed everywhere. I hope I get to be a part of the foreign trip,” she said.
The event included a silent rendering of the national anthem by school students, a dance performance by children from NGO Muskaan, which works for the differently abled, and a musical by DU students.