Physically-challenged Rahul Satsangi passed his class XII from Delhi Public School, RK Puram. He is now trying (with the help of his father D K Satsangi) to grab one of the 1,589 seats reserved for physically-challenged candidates in the University of Delhi. Though three per cent of seats are reserved under the disability quota for these students, the choice is generally limited and as a result around two-third of the seats remain vacant. Rahul's choice is also limited as he can't travel to north campus from his Greater Noida home.
Miles to go
The university still lacks the required infrastructure for disabled students but there is apparently a will to upgrade. "It will still take a few years to make the university completely disabled-friendly. Currently there are few college which have written to us and had claimed that they have the resources imperative for the disabled students," says Dr Nisha Singh, Spokesperson, Equal Opportunity Cell, Delhi University (DU).
The colleges which made this claim are Lady Shri Ram, Shri Ram College for Commerce (SRCC), Janaki Devi Memorial College, Gargi College, Kamala Nehru College, Mata Sundri, SGTB Khalsa, and Jesus and Mary College.
It is surprising that university officials have no worries that reserved seats remain vacant. "I am happy over the fact that seats lie vacant. It shows that fewer students are physically challenged in Delhi," says S K Vij, Dean, Students' Welfare, DU.
But on the other hand, Singh laments that only one-third of the 1000 students who clear the class XII Board exams take admission in the university.
Sops for them
The disability quota covers three kinds of disabilities -- orthopaedic, visual impairment and speech and hearing impairment.
Colleges are meant to provide ramps and lifts for orthopaedically-disabled students while the visually-impaired need talking computers in library and cassettes for recordings in classrooms. Speech and hearing impaired students, who are very few in number, need interpreters. Last year, Sri Venkateswara College's Karishma Saluja became the first DU student who was provided an interpreter, courtesy the Equal Opportunity Cell.
It shows the university is trying to become more disabled-friendly. Vij claims that the university is quite sensitive to the disabled students and is on the "right track" to make "these" students study with the mainstream.