Blind university student demands equal education 盲大生學習有礙 爭取就學權

Wed, Dec 26, 2012 - Page 11

After completing four years of study, Chang Chien, the only blind student currently studying at Taipei Municipal University of Education (TMUE) — a university specially for training future teachers — says that the school lacks an effective digital system and the educational resources necessary for blind students. He says that this has kept him from being able to sign up for classes like everyone else, and from being able to meet the basic requirements of the school’s Center for Teacher Education. Whenever he has sought assistance from the school, they simply tell him he should be content with his lot and stop complaining. In an attempt to get an equal education and not simply earn a degree out of pity, Chang finally felt it necessary to send a formal complaint to his local city councilor. The complaint included five major problems he has had with his education.

Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao, who received the formal complaint, also criticizes the university because it is supposed to be a school for training future teachers, which means that it should value the education of students with special circumstances. Wu also says that this problem raises concerns about whether the school is actually fit to do the job it claims to be doing — training teachers — and has therefore requested that the school hold a meeting to resolve the issues in the complaint. TMUE will also have to make a list of any needs that physically disabled students have and deal with them more effectively.

Chang says that the Web site for signing up for classes and the digital learning system both lack interfaces for the blind, and that you have to enter an authentication code in order to enter the system, which means that blind students cannot use it and must find someone else to help them.

Because of this Chang is not able to select his classes in the normal way that the average student does, and instead has to rely on others or sign up for classes by filling out paper forms. He is also not able to download information about his classes, look up his grades or participate in online discussions. Chang says that his classes, such as topography and climatology, include a lot of charts and graphs, as well as fieldwork outside of class, which for a blind student is just about as difficult as “flying in the sky.” Not only does he not receive the assistance he needs, Chang has been refused on several occasions when he approached teachers before class to get information for class that he could have an outside organization for the visually impaired convert into braille and tactile books.

Chang’s greatest dream of becoming a special education teacher after completing his degree is continually denied to him because of the inequalities in the education system, which keep him from getting the grades he needs to meet the minimal curriculum requirements for becoming a teacher as stipulated by the Ministry of Education, so he is also continually rejected by the Center for Teacher Education. Chang indignantly says, “I don’t want a degree out of pity. I just want a real education.”

The university says that it is holding an Individual Education Program meeting this week for physically disabled students, particularly to deal with resolving the five major problems that have been brought to their attention by Chang, but they say they cannot offer any specifics until a consensus has been reached.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

專門培訓未來老師的台北市立教育大學,全校唯一的全盲生掌謙,過去四年來因學校欠缺無障礙的盲用數位系統及教學資源,讓他連選課都無法和一般生相同,也被擋在師培生資格之外,尋求學校協助,卻僅獲得一句「知足常樂、別怨天尤人」,他向議員投書五大求學困境,盼爭取平等的就學權,而非同情的學位。

接獲陳情的台北市議員吳思瑤批評,市教大是專門訓練未來當教師的學校,原本就應該對特殊學生的教育更加重視,此事凸顯市教大「枉為人師」,要求學校召開專案會議,未來也必須對所有身障生的需求列案輔導、給予協助。

他說,因學校課程網站及數位學習系統欠缺無障礙介面,必須輸入驗證碼才能進入系統,盲人根本無法使用,必須自己找人幫忙。

因為如此,掌謙無法像一般學生一樣正常的自由選課,得靠人幫忙或人工加選,也無法上網閱讀或下載課程資料、查詢成績、參加線上討論等。他說,系上課程包括地形學、氣候學,涵蓋大量的圖表及野外調查,對盲生而言學習「難如登天」,他不僅無法獲得任何協助,想提早在課前向老師索取上課資料,委請視障團體製作成點字檔案或觸摸式圖冊,同樣屢被拒絕。

掌謙最大的夢想是希望通過教育學程,未來成為特教老師,但也因為受教資源的不平等,成績未達申請教育學程的標準,因而被師資培育中心拒於門外,他不平:「我不是要一個同情的學位,而是要實質的學問。」

對此,校方表示,本週召開身障者個別化教育(IEP)會議,針對盲生的五大訴求提出解決方案,在尚未達到共識前不願對外發言。

(自由時報記者邱紹雯)