Exam rooms for disabled receiving mixed reviews

BARRIER TO EDUCATION?:Students are provided tools to assist them, but complaints included having to spend the night away from home and not receiving teaching materials

By Hung Mei-hsiu, Wu Wei-kung and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with Staff writer

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - Page 4

The College Entrance Examination Center (CEEC) has heard opinions from physically and visually challenged examinees at this year’s national college entrance exam, which took place on Sunday and yesterday, after it opened examination rooms nationwide to students on Saturday for tours.

The number of physically and visually impaired students taking the two-day exam stood at 371 this year, an increase of 31 from last year.

In northern Taiwan, exam rooms at National Taiwan University alone saw 121 examinees who required specialized tools to assist them — the highest number in three years — and had accordingly prepared equipment such as magnifiers and Braille typewriters.

Chang Chia-wen (張嘉文), an examinee with amblyopia and night blindness, brought a desk lamp when she visited her examination room at National Hsinchu Senior High School in Hsinchu City, adding that she found the facilities fairly satisfactory.

In central Taiwan, 10 exam rooms were set up in Greater Taichung for 44 physically and visually challenged examinees in the area.

Among them was Wang Cheng-ting (汪證庭), a Lizen High School student who has moderate visual impairment, who was accompanied by center staff members as she tried out magnifiers on Saturday.

Chang Kai-chen (張凱珍), a student from Changhua County’s National Lu Kang Senior High School who uses a wheelchair, tried out a computer at National Changhua University of Education (NCUE) on the same day.

“I wish to gain admission to NCUE’s Department of Special Education so that I can use my personal experience to assist more physically impaired students in pursuing education,” Chang Kai-chen said, when asked about her aspirations.

Meanwhile, Chang Chia-ming (張家銘), a student from National Taichung Second Senior High School, was assigned a center staff member to transcribe the answers he wrote on a piece of paper onto an official answer sheet, because his right hand was impaired after being injured in an accident by a drunk driver.

In southern Taiwan, National Kaohsiung Normal University accommodated 27 students with special educational needs, including an examinee from National Tainan Second Senior High School, surnamed Hsu (胥).

While Hsu was satisfied with the Braille typewriters and magnifiers the university prepared to help him with his test, his mother called on the examination center to also set up accessible exam rooms in Greater Tainan to spare examinees with physical and visual disabilities from the region the trouble and expense of spending the night before the exam in Greater Kaohsiung.

A visually impaired examinee from Kaohsiung Municipal Jhong Jheng High School surnamed Liu (劉) said that the center had not distributed sufficient special teaching resources to students who suffered similar disabilities.

“Up until now [Saturday,] I have only received half of the teaching materials necessary for the test, which means I have no choice, but to write the test half-prepared,” Liu said.

Additional reporting by Tang Shih-ming, Su Ching-feng, Chang

Hsieh-sheng, Huang Hsu-lei and Rachel Lin