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University enrollment requirements protested

Gadjah Mada University

Gadjah Mada University

People with disabilities and differently abled people are protesting the 2014 state university enrollment system requirements, arguing that they are discriminatory and are dashing their hopes of taking part in the selection.

“The requirements violate human rights,” director of the Institute for Inclusion and Advocacy of the Disabled (Sigab), Joni Yulianto, told.

On its website, the national university selection committee states that it requires that applicants of particular study programs are not deaf, blind, mute, physically disabled or color blind.

Malikussaleh University in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, for example, bans differently abled people from enrolling in its School of Electrical Engineering, while Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta bans blind, deaf, mute or physically disabled students from enrolling in the same study program.

The selection for state-owned universities nationwide began on Jan. 6 and will end on June 17.

Joni said that Indonesia had ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through Law No. 19/2011, which obliges the country to acknowledge the educational rights of differently abled people. Similarly, the 1945 Constitution guarantees the right to education for every citizen, without exception.

As such, university enrollment requirements must not block the access of differently abled people to education, and must facilitate discussions with differently abled people regarding the study methods that would best suit them.

Joni added that he had asked the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Indonesian Ombudsman to take stern action against educational institutions that discriminate against differently abled people.

The same sentiment was also expressed by the Indonesian Disabled Women’s Association’s (HWDI) Yogyakarta branch. The association’s chairperson Ratna Dewi Setianingsih said that differently abled people had the same rights as other people.

Meanwhile, UGM rector Pratikno said that a number of study programs indeed had particular enrollment requirements, such as not suffering from color blindness. He said it was the right of each university to determine such requirements.

Separately, Agus Sartono, deputy minister of education and religion at the Office of the Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister, admitted that the government is not prepared to accommodate students with disabilities in higher education.

“I believe that every person, disabled or not, has the right to education, and this is guaranteed in our laws,” Agus said on Tuesday.

He added that, in addition to the limited facilities for students with disabilities, universities lacked educators with the qualifications and experience to work with differently abled people. (fss)

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