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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Excluding students with disabilities from tertiary education an 'injustice' - Maszlee

 


It is an “injustice” for student candidates with disabilities to be excluded and segregated from pursuing tertiary education, former education minister Maszlee Malik said.

He was responding to an article yesterday where a student group claimed a student was denied the chance to pursue her tertiary education at a public university due to her physical disability.

“I understand this is not an isolated incident because I have also received a few feedbacks from parents of children with disabilities, who have voiced a similar issue.

“The UPU Online system, which has been updated, set only certain courses that students with disabilities can apply for, and the number of courses that are said to be ‘friendly’ to students with disabilities is very limited.

“Such segregationist and exclusionist policies are an injustice to candidates with disabilities and it deviates very far from the inclusive policies and practices before this, where they were given a special channel to apply to universities,” Maszlee said in a statement yesterday.

Students with disabilities deserve to have the same opportunities as other university candidates to pursue their tertiary education, instead of having their access blocked, the Simpang Renggam MP added.

UPU Online is an application system for students to apply for programmes at public tertiary education institutions.

Under the previous special channel policy for students with disabilities, 466 students with disabilities successfully received placements in public universities for the academic year of 2019-2020, Maszlee said.

“But today, the path for students with disabilities to enter universities have not only not been made easier, but it has also been blocked,” he said.

Maszlee reminded the government that Malaysia signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, which includes the right for people with disabilities to receive an education.

As such, he called for the Higher Education Ministry as well as all public universities, polytechnics and community colleges under the ministry to return to the inclusive policy launched by the Education Ministry in 2019, when he was still its minister.

Previously, it was reported that a 2019 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidate, who uses a wheelchair to move around, had achieved 9As in her examination, thus meeting the minimum requirement making her an eligible candidate for public universities.

The candidate had been shortlisted for UKM’s Asasi Pintar Pre-University Programme (APP) and had attended an interview and completed all documents required, including a video submission.

However, during the UPU Online update phase, her previous application was blank and she became eligible to only choose from two diploma programmes and 20 community college certifications. - Mkini

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