In pursuit of a dream

It is remarkable that there are brave souls among the visually impaired who will pursue further education in order to realise theirdreams. Thankfully there are institutions of higher learning which encourage them to do so. One such university is UniversitiTeknologi Mara (UiTM) Perliscampus. 

To encourage more blind students to take up studies there,the university is planning to create special application procedures. 

Campus director Assoc Prof Ahmad Redzuan Abd Rahman explains that entry requirementsfor blind students into universities are the same as other normal students. 

''They need to apply through the Unit Pusat Universiti (UPU)with specific examinationresults such as the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) for degree programmes and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) for diploma studies,'' he says. 

''We haven't decided on the procedures yet but we want to make it easier for blind students to apply for programmes at UiTM,'' he says, adding that they are free to choose any programme they want. 

There are also plans to promote the campus to blind students in schools in the northernregion. 

''We want the students to know they can come to UiTM Perlis if they wish to continuewith their studies after school,'' he adds. 

Assoc Prof Ahmad Redzuan explains the university's Perlis campus was the first to accept blind students in 2000. 

Farieza Hiezua Abdul Rahman and Mohd Hafiz Abdul Rahman made history at UiTM Perliswhen they became the first blind students to register for a diploma in business studies. 

''Farieza and Mohd Hafiz have done really well in their studies and scored a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.44 and 3.33 respectively. They receivedtheir diplomas in a convocation held last month,'' he says. 

Both have decided to continue with their studies and will take up the degree in business with Farieza majoring in marketingand Mohd Hafiz in finance, he adds. 

Another two blind students, Ben Alim Baron and Muhamad Amir Teh Husin Teh have sinceregistered at the university, taking up a diploma in business studies. 

''One of the university's lecturers was specially appointed as a blind students' programme coordinator to handle problemsfaced by the students. They can also seek assistance from the university through its various divisions such as Student Affairs,Academic, Library and Hostels,'' he adds. 

Many of the students' classmates volunteered to be readers so they read books or notes that are not in Braille. The studentsalso have access to computers with voice synthesisers in a special laboratory. 

''We sent the students' notes and examination papers to be turned into Braille in Kedah as we don't have the facilities to do so here yet,'' he says.

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