Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood distributed 42 electric wheelchairs to students of 14 public sector universities in a ceremony held at Higher Education Commission Secretariat in Islamabad.
While addressing the ceremony as chief guest, he said we need to play a leadership role and it is government’s responsibility to facilitate special children in transforming their lives.
Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC, Dr Fateh Marri, Executive Director, HEC, Lt Gen (Retd) Muhammad Asghar, Consultant CPEC, student recipients of wheelchairs, and their parents, representatives of the universities were also present in the electric wheelchair distribution ceremony organized under Prime Minister’s Electric Wheelchair Scheme for University Students.
The Minister informed the audience that Government would initiate a special program for facilitating and enhancing accessibility of people with special abilities in educational institutions. He hoped that all public sector educational institutions would be made inclusive and accessible for special children. He also urged private sector universities to make alteration in their infrastructure to provide more and more opportunities to specially-challenged students.
The Minister informed that we have yet to acquire more milestones, as a uniform policy for disable citizens is under consideration and be implemented sooner.
While talking to the gathering, the parents of specially-challenged students praised the initiative of distributing electric wheelchairs to disabled students with an objective to facilitate them in their mission to complete their higher education, and enable them to contribute effectively towards progress of the country.
Students said that no previous Government has taken an initiative of providing electric wheelchairs to the specially-challenged students. The parents of other children have also shared their struggle in up-bringing these children with special needs. Students requested that in all educational institutions, building of ramps and provision of elevators should be made mandatory for facilitating physically-challenged students.
Earlier, briefing on Prime Minister’s Electric Wheelchair Scheme, Muhammad Raza Chohan, Director General HRD, HEC said that Special children need our attention as they are unparalleled part of our society. The present government had identified the need and had launched this program worth Rs. 132 Million, he added.
He further informed the audience that a total of 600 electric wheelchairs were to be distributed in three years duration in all regions of the country. Initially, 208 electric wheelchairs were to be distributed among the university students who had applied under the scheme in the year 2018 and were recommended by the evaluation committees of the public sector universities and HEC’s steering committee.
He informed the audience that electric wheel chair distribution ceremony at HEC Secretariat is the central ceremony while 17 university students were given electric wheelchairs in a distribution ceremony held earlier at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro (LUMHS) and in another ceremony held in Chief Minister House, Lahore 20 university students were given electric wheelchairs.