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China improves education access for disabled

By He Dan (China Daily)

09:57, December 19, 2011

BEIJING - China is striving to improve access to higher education for disabled people by forbidding examination authorities from excluding people from national level exams due to their physical or mental disabilities, according to a draft law prepared by the top education authority.

The amendment to the Regulations on the Education of Persons with Disabilities also requires that due assistance be provided to enable disabled people to take exams, such as providing exam papers in braille for the blind, said Wang Daquan, deputy director of the legislative affairs office under the policy and legal affairs department of the Ministry of Education.

The move came after the story of a visually impaired woman's fight to take a self-study exam in order to be enrolled in a university was widely reported.

In late October, Dong Lina, 27, wrote a complaint to the Beijing municipal commission of education after the local examination authority twice rejected her application to take a self-study exam.

The self-study exam enables those who have not received formal schooling to get diplomas recognized by the government.

Getting a diploma by taking the exam was a prerequisite for Dong's application to study in the Communication University of China.

Dong, who hails from Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning province, told China Daily that she quit her job as a massage therapist and came to Beijing in 2006 to receive training in broadcasting.

After the media reported Dong's story, Beijing exam officials contacted her and promised her she would be able to take the exam in January on a computer with special software to read the questions.

To date, only three out of 31 provinces, namely Guangdong, Henan and Jilin provinces, permit disabled people to take self-study exams.

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