Saturday, May 29, 2010

Student with CP in India denied admission to college because of need for elevator

From The Deccan Chronicle:

Kruti Beesam (pictured) was denied admission when she approached St. Francis Degree College for Women. The reason — she was suffering from cerebral palsy and needed to use the college lift.

According to the law, no institution can deny a student admission on the basis of an illness or a disability as every child has the right to education. However, in Kruti’s case this right was denied to her when her mother approached the college.

“I have cerebral palsy (CP) and I may not be an outstanding student but I am capable of writing exams and faring well. Earlier too the staff and students at Roots school and Nasr, where I studied, extended all possible help to me and treated me well. But recently when we approached St. Francis Degree College for Women for admission into their B.A. Psychology stream, the principal turned us away,” says Kruti, adding, “When my mother told the principal about me and requested her to allow me use the college lift, she was shown out of the college asking her to look for another institution.”

D. Sridhar Babu, minister for higher education, says, “According to the law no institution can deny admission to a student on the basis of illness or a disability. If such a thing has happened with Kruti and she registers a complaint with us, we will initiate action against the college.”

“Kruti was really keen on joining St. Francis since all her friends are going there this year and we had heard that the college has good facilities for their differently-abled students. But all we got was disappointment,” says Radhika, Kruti’s mother.

Luckily, for Kruti, Shadan Degree College for Women has agreed to admit her. “The college authorities have agreed to extend all possible help to me during my stint there. They have also said that I am free to use the college lift to get to classes while I am studying there,” says Kruti.

The principal of St. Francis Degree College, Sister Alphonsa, was unavailable for comment. However, the vice principal, Sister Sandra denied the claim saying, “It is unlikely that the principal would have turned away a prospective student on grounds of a physical disability. In fact, we don’t mind admitting special category students even if they’ve scored considerably less than the other candidates.”

Citing earlier cases, she adds, “In the past we have had blind and physically handicapped students who have studied at our institution. From our end we have always provided them with special facilities like scribes during exams and also a special exam room so that they don’t have to climb the stairs.”

On an average the college has at least five students, who fall under the special category, every year studying at the institution. She adds however, “So far we have never had a student with cerebral palsy.”