Target: Chinese Ministry of Education
Goal: Allow China’s disabled children fair access to education
In China, children who have disabilities face a huge hurdle in their education. Only a small percentage are able to attend school – a bigger percent can not and end up illiterate. Unfortunately in higher education, some universities restrict access for disabled students with physical or mental handicaps. These policies are extremely unfair and hurt both the disabled children and society.
Of the 83 million disabled people in China, 40% of these people are illiterate, and about 28% of these children are not getting basic education. Every child, so long as they have the capability and potential to learn should be enrolled in school and given basic education. Lacking these tools, many of these children cannot advance in life, some living in impoverished areas and living unhappy lives.
The Chinese government has made promises to waive enrollment fees for children with disabilities, and also promised to raise enrollment rates. However, institutions are denying these disabled students entrance into their schools. When they are admitted, they are bullied and pressured into leaving. Some schools don’t have – or refuse to provide – accommodations to their learning barriers. In a 75 page report titled “As Long as They Let Us Stay in Class” , disabled students and their parents are interviewed about their experiences with schools. One parent stated that she had to carry her child up and down stairs because the classroom and bathroom were on different floors. Another parent was told by her child’s teacher that the child must adapt to the environment. Unfortunately this policy has been repeated at various other schools in China, where the disabled student must adapt before they given basic education. Again these are unfair and extremely biased statements.
If a disabled student is able to overcome these barriers and get into higher education, they are given a physical exam. The results are given to universities and colleges in China, and these institutions can reject the student based on their disabilities – even if their disability does not negatively affect their performance in their field of study. These hurdles do not go away when the student becomes an adult. If a child is able to overcome their disability on their own without the aid of the school, why can’t they do so when they are in a university?
China should revise their policies regarding education so disabled children can be included in the classroom. It is shameful to deny education to anyone because of their disabilities. China also needs to ensure that their teachers are trained to instruct special needs students. Sign this petition and help keep these students in the classroom.
Dear Ministry of Education,
It is imperative that disabled students in China are guaranteed basic education in all stages of their educational career. Whether it be elementary/grade school, college or university, every disabled student should have accommodations, have teachers who understand their handicap, and be allowed to stay in the classroom. No child should ever feel pressured to leave their school as it is hurtful and undermines the value of education. The schools should be equipped for children who require wheelchairs and policies where handicapped students should ‘adapt to the environment’ should be abolished. Instead the school should devote their efforts to ensuring that every child excels.
These barriers to education are discriminatory and judgmental. I implore you to make these changes happen for the good of your educational system. Disabled students have so much to offer to their society when given a chance.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Thomas Galvez via flickr