Disabled students need more places in universities
Though Sri Lanka has 13 universities, it was pathetic that only 48
disabled students were enroled in university courses during the past
five years, said President, Sri Lanka Medical Association, Prof. Lalitha
She proposed that the Educational authorities should enrol a
significant number of disabled students to local universities
considering their inborn talents and abilities in addition to their
Referring to certain comments she made at a meeting in Colombo
on `Disability in Sri Lanka’, Prof. Mendis said that Sri Lanka will
have a large number of disabled persons in the next few years and steps
must be taken to provide adequate facilities for them to live as equals
She said the Government and other organisations currently engaged in
social service activities will have to play a vital role to meet the
requirements of this community and also to uplift their social status.
“I discussed the problems faced by disabled students including their
enrolments in universities at the University of Colombo Council sometime
back and I think the Ministry of Higher Education and the University
Grants Commission should request universities to enrol more disabled
She said when the intake of disabled students to universities is
increased the students must also be provided with adequate funds to
create a suitable learning and living environment.
“I remember when a certain university decided to install a lift to
enable disabled students to attend lectures in the upper floors of the
building, several other students protested that the expenditure could
not be justified as it served only a few students.
Prof. Mendis also said that of the 6.6 billion population, 10 per
cent are disabled in the world and many countries have already taken
measures to meet the demands of this community while improving their
In providing employment to disabled persons, Prof. Mendis said there
was a Government regulation that every State and private sector
institution should allocate at least 3 per cent of employment
opportunities for the disabled.
“If this is carried out properly it will be a great benefit for the
most vulnerable community,” she said.
She called upon the authorities to pay a special attention towards
improving their vocational skills such as woodwork training, carpentry,
masonry, lace making, tailoring and patchwork.