Target: Yuan Guiren, Chinese Minister of Education
Goal: Thank Chinese Government for increasing access to education for blind individuals
Before April of 2014, blind Chinese students had little to no hope for obtaining a college education. Entrance exams to national universities were not provided in Braille, effectively excluding blind students from institutions of higher education. There were also no electronic exams provided. However, all of that is changing thanks to the compassionate action of the Chinese Education Ministry, and the Minister for Education, Yuan Guiren. The Chinese government will now provide Braille and electronic exams to students who are visually impaired, giving them a chance at a brighter future. China’s Minister of Education, Yuan Guiren, has responded to the cries of students and advocates for disability rights, and made a positive change. He deserves recognition for his dedication to improving the lives of young people in China.
Although as early as 2012 the Chinese government had decreed that visually impaired students could use Braille or electronic exam forms in national exams, no policy was enacted to make those test taking materials accessible to students. Schools lacked a modality for providing visually impaired students with a means to take these important tests. This most recent announcement from the Ministry of Education is the first acknowledgement of the government’s responsibility to provide alternative means of taking the gaokao, or college entrance exam. From now on, the Ministry of Education will be officially responsible for providing test-taking materials for disabled students.
Disability rights advocates have been pressuring China for years to increase educational accessibility for disabled pupils. A 75 page Human Rights Watch paper from July 2013 details ways in which disabled Chinese students were discriminated against. According to the Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson, “Making exams accessible to the blind would help to minimize discrimination against and maximize respect for people with disabilities in China.”
The Chinese Education Ministry’s response to these calls for greater equality may be delayed, but they are admirable. Education Minister Yuan Guiren deserves commendation.
Dear Yuan Guiren,
Education is a pivotal human right that must be extended to all people, regardless of ability. For years, visually impaired Chinese students who wanted a college education were unable to obtain one, due to unfair policies. The Ministry of Education’s recent actions to change this unfair status quo are to be applauded.
I am writing to you today to thank you for agreeing to provide Braille and electronic exam papers to visually impaired students, and to urge you to keep up the good work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lrcg2012 via wikimedia commons