Do not create disability camps – Minister

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister for Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, has warned tertiary institutions to not create “disability camp” for disabled students. In her visit to South African universities, she said facilities in the institutions of higher learning should be inclusive in order to empower disabled students.

The visit – aimed at sharing good practices and developing minimum norms and standards as well as uniform guidelines to support students living with disabilities in tertiary institutions – was part of the department’s drive to ensure universal access and inclusive higher education. This visit also allowed the department to circulate information gathered from one institution to the other in an effort to promote good governance practice.

Bogopane-Zulu, a former disabled student herself, said if the environment for disabled students is too complacent it will make things difficult for them to cope with the intensity and demands of life after their studies. She believes that disabled students must be integrated into normal universities rather than being separately treated. “Teaching practice and university infrastructure should unite students irrespective of their status,” she said. She emphasized that “too much special care” promote an act of dependency and laziness. “By and large many learners who come from special disabilities schools are not prepared for university. It is because they come from complacent environment and university should not worsen this by creating disability camps,” she explained.