HRW: Allowing Blind Access to Gaokao a Breakthrough

After publishing a report looking at the many educational barriers facing people with disabilities in China last year, Human Rights Watch has praised the Ministry of Education’s recent decision to make braille and electronic college entrance exams available to the blind:

The Chinese Education Ministry’s decision to provide Braille or electronic exams for national university entrance will improve access to higher education for candidates who are blind or have visual impairments, Human Rights Watch said today. Up to now, students who are blind or partially sighted were effectively barred from mainstream higher education because no provision was made to accommodate their disability.

“Making exams accessible to the blind would help to minimize discrimination against and maximize respect for people with disabilities in China,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “This is an important breakthrough after years of advocacy by disability rights advocates in China.”

[…] “Much remains to be done to end the discrimination and exclusion of people with disabilities in China,” Richardson said. “Truly implementing this initiative would be an important step toward building a more inclusive society.” [Source]

While highly controversial and sometimes bewildering, China’s gaokao college entrance exam does much to determine the futures of the millions of high school students who take it each year (9 million in 2013).

Also see “What’s it Like to be Disabled in China,” an examination of disabled life and public attitudes, via CDT.