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University of the South Pacific Upgrades Hostel Facilities For Those With Disabilities

USP Disability Resource Centre manager Alfred Anthony said the latest investment in the second hall includes two blocks with newly renovated rooms that are now disability-friendly.
16 Sep 2019 18:10
University of the South Pacific Upgrades Hostel Facilities For Those With Disabilities
University of the South Pacific accomodation halls accomodate students with disabilities. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

Students living with disabilities are now accommodated on campus at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva.

USP accommodation halls now have better disability access in the refurbished rooms specifically made for them.

Apart from the refurbished rooms, the university has also invested in a ramps around the campus, a new lift that has been built in the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE)  building making students on wheelchairs able to make it to the top floors to visit their tutors and lecturers if they need learning help.

USP Disability Resource Centre manager Alfred Anthony said the latest investment in the second hall includes two blocks with newly renovated rooms that are now disability-friendly.

“The 10 accommodation rooms have been modified with wider doors, more lighting to assist students studying under the National Disability Scholarship and also assist those with special needs that come from outside of Suva and want to stay on campus,” Mr Anthony said.

“That is one of the largest investments that has been made for students with special needs this year.

“As our numbers grow support also grows; the success stories from students with disabilities have grown too over the years,” he said.

According to Mr Anthony disabled students that were at USP earlier in 2000 wish such facilities were there during their time.

“We are trying to build a model in which we are able to provide a one-stop-shop for students with disabilities here.

“We also even have the National Disability scholarship available where we sponsor students from the region that come in. We are also thankful that the support staff throughout the faculties have been very supportive.”

He said when it opened, the students with disabilities personally thanked the vice-chancellor because it was the first time, they now have access to the top floors to visit their teaching staff.

Mr Anthony said the Dean of FALE Dr Akanisi Kedrayate was a great supporter of the drive for children with disabilities to have access to these services.

“Even though the university has invested a lot in these services, we are still working on more improvements in our infrastructure to ensure that students have access everywhere on campus.

“There was a growing need for the university to have such a centre and the number of students that have taken advantage of this service has grown over the years,” he said.

The university also has a special resource centre where students with disabilities are able to use during the week.

“We have a fully equipped resource centre. There is a computer lab, washroom facilities, kitchen fully equipped with cooking facilities, we also have extra wheelchairs, TV and a printer.

“There is also a braille machine; sign language interpreters are brought in if there is a need.

“There is a screen reader software on our computers that could also help visually impaired students to listen to their notes.

“The university has invested into this so that none of them will fall behind. We want equal access to education for everyone.”

Feedbackinoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

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