The number of physically challenged students reporting for admissions at the Delhi University has steadily gone up to 300 in the first week of the process after an initially poor turnout. Only 20 'special students' had reported on the first two days at the admission centre catering for them, leaving the University administration concerned over the abysmally low number. However, the number picked up in the later days with as many as 72 students turning up on one of the admission days.
"In the last seven years, this was the first time when such a large number of students reported on one single day," Seema Parihar, Deputy Dean Students Welfare (DSW), and in-charge of the centre for special children told PTI. Over 1600 seats are reserved for specially-abled students in the Delhi University, but hundreds of seats are left vacant every year.
For special students, the University has a dedicated centre at the office of DSW, equipped with trained experts and counsellors as well as well sign language experts. Three per cent of the 54,000 seats in the university's colleges are reserved for the differently-abled students, but every year not more than 400-500 of them report for admissions.
The initial turnout had left many a teacher manning the centre disappointed, but things changed for good in the last five days of the first week of admissions. "The number has reached 300 so far. Now I am really hopeful that we would be getting more students this time and I believe the reach of the mass media has helped take our message to the candidates," Parihar said.
Last year, a total of 397 physically challenged students had reported for admissions in the DU, even when nearly 1200 seats were reserved for them. The administration, however, believes more students need to be encouraged to avail the facility of higher education. "It is not that DU is not friendly to such students. We have forms in braille and for those who do not understand it we have other options as well. They have to report with only four certificates and we guarantee them seats in good colleges," said Parihar.
The process of admissions for the 54,000 seats in the university's colleges began on May 28 and the last date of sale of forms and the deadline for submission of completed application forms is June 11.