The constitution promises education for everyone, it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of physical or mental disability, yet the education facilities available for the disabled are very compromised. Compromised in every sense of the word – from policy to infrastructure. Even elite private universities like LUMS do not have the necessary infrastructural adjustments required by disabled students. Yes, there are ramps but they are very small in number and inconvenient locations. Usually, teachers aren’t trained to be sensitive to their needs, and comments like, “are you blind” and “are you deaf” are commonly used by teachers, further alienating disabled students from everyone else. Our institutes play an integral role in making education for these children an ongoing conflict and a source of extreme discomfort. They do not work towards empowering them or making accommodations; instead, they further push them away from it.
Moreover, they instill an idea of ‘normalcy’ confined to the able-bodied and derogatory to disabled kids. Who gets to decide that an able-bodied student is normal? Who gets to decide that the ‘conventional normal’ is the best form to be born in, the ones who are different should not be instantly labeled as ‘not normal.’ We must look at them as different. Our schools should be teaching this, but they are busy creating hindrances. While making things almost unbearable for them, it also further deepens the divide between students instead of instilling harmony and sensitivity. In this manner, education becomes an inconvenience. Instead of helping disabled students progress in life, it acts as a means of lowering their self-worth and frustration. Our education system is practically broken when it comes to disabled students. It’s high time that state institutions and schools realize the extent of this problem, and steps must be taken to facilitate and encourage these students.