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Panjab University cell proposes tuition, exam fees for disabled students

In a major proposal to boost higher education opportunities for students with disabilities, the Equal Opportunity (EO) cell of the Panjab University has suggested that the university should exempt all disabled students from paying tuition, examination and other charges.

Some of the other suggestions are that disabled students be exempt from paying hostel fees and be given a 50% discount on food. The EO cell says that this should be given to all disabled students, regardless of their financial status and nature of disability.

The proposal will be tabled in the syndicate meeting on 7 July.

Dr Sanjeev Gautam, who is the Coordinator of the EO cell says that this is needed to promote higher education among people with disabilities, who are denied such opportunities given the high costs of living. It is also hard for parents of such students to afford the assistive devices needed for studying, mobility and accommodation.

The Panjab University has already increased the disability reservation from 3 to 5% in accordance with Indian government guidelines. Of this, 1% will be reserved for categories under the RPWD Act 2016. . This law recognizes locomotor, visual, hearing, speech, intellectual, and mental disabilities, besides those due to chronic neurological conditions.

The list also includes blood disorders such as haemophilia, thalassaemia, and sickle-cell disease. Earlier, only cases of blindness or low vision, hearing impairment, and locomotor disability or cerebral palsy were considered for reservation.

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