UPM SERDANG, June 11th 2020 – An online discussion was conducted by the Students’ Affair Division through the Disability Support Services (UPSO). The first session of the programme was commenced by featuring Marlinah Muslim from UPSO, Students’ Affair Division of UPM as the moderator and panels among UPM’s OKU students, alumni as well as the coordinator of Disability Support Services (UPSO).
According to the first panel, Dr. Wan Arnidawati Wan Abdullah, UPSO Coordinator and also a senior lecturer in UPM Human Ecology, the institute needs to be equipped with appropriate and various access to cater the increasing trend of OKU students’ admission in UPM both in Serdang and Bintulu campuses. This could enhance the inclusivity- regarded support system that UPM has been providing for OKU students for quite a long time, from the beginning.
Through a sharing by Nurul Najwa Khairunnisa Hassim, one of the UPM alumni who is visually disabled, it is evident that UPM has always strived to provide the best for its staff throughout their times in the institute, even though the accessibility is deemed to be limited. Najwa has also mentioned that she was the first visually disabled OKU in UPM in that time.
According to Hussain Said, physically disabled OKU on a wheelchair and a post-graduate in the Faculty Of Modern Languages And Communications, the support and assistance acquired from the people around made him to pursue his life in UPM in a much convenient way, since his bachelor’s degree times. He also stated that the OKU mobility van is one of the most helpful aid he has acquired throughout his study alongside other facilities that were constantly upgraded.
In terms of Mohamad Ridzuan Zakaria, final year student in Bachelor of Language Literature and Malay Linguistics, OKU within the learning category, the access to facilities is not an issue for him however, social acceptance is something he needs to highly deal with as disabled in terms of learning is not visible as others and it causes the pressure for him to blend with the community. Informing the lecturer on his delay in comprehending a subject and the need for more time in exams, is one of the initiatives that Ridzuan has taken to ensure his learning experience to be undisrupted.
In conclusion, UPM has provided the access and facilities that are constantly improvised to create an OKU- friendly environment that is both inclusive and conducive for students with special needs. Apart from the students’ management officers, the academic officers should also be aware of the needs of OKU students especially those who could not show their disabilities in obvious way, such as those with learning disabilities.
Hopefully, this first session could alert us all that we are progressively moving towards an OKU- aware community. For those that have missed the live stream, you can watch the session on the Students Affairs Division’s Facebook page that has reached more than 1000 active viewers for the particular session.
Date of Input: 06/07/2020 | Updated: 05/08/2020 | mshahrul
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