The year 2008 brings great news for visually challenged
students in Pakistan as Government College University (GCU) establishes
a Centre for Special Students (CSS). This is the first ever, such center
at college or university level established in Pakistan which aims at
assisting the visually challenged students in order to eliminate their
educational barriers. The number of visually impaired students
registered at present from first-year to PhD are about 32.
The credit for this centre goes to Prof. Dr. Khalid Aftab,
the then Vice Chancellor of GCU who is the visionary behind this project. He
took personal interest in initiating, planning and arranging the funds
for this centre. In opening this centre not only has he facilitated the
blind students in their learning, he has also provided them with an
equal opportunity to become useful citizens in the society.
The Centre for Special Students (CSS) is attached with
GCU Library for IT based services and administrative affairs.
The centre offers all the major facilities which the
blind students generally require in order to meet their educational
demands. Some of the major facilities provided by (CSS) are mentioned
1- Computer Training Classes for Blind Computer Learners
The blind students are given special training in the
centre to elevate their understanding regarding the use of computer and
specially designed softwares that are widely used all over the world by
the blind computer users.
At this modern age, the use of technology has minified
most of the problems of the visually impaired people. The main idea,
thus, is to train more and more blind students so that they may take the
best out of the technology to diminish their educational dependency. For
this very cause, the centre is playing a substantial part by promoting
the use of technology for blind and giving them proper training to be
heavily benefited by it.
2- Solutions for Braille Related Issues
Some blind students in the GCU campus take their exams
using the Braille format. The Braille machine, which is used for this
purpose is very expensive and most of the students cannot afford it. The
centre has arranged for six Perkins Braille machines, which can be used
by visually impaired students to take their exams on campus. In addition
these Braille machines can also be utilized by the examination branch to
The same Braille machines may also be used by the
students to transcribe books/notes and other material related to their
3- Computers/Speech Output Programs
The centre now offers computers with special, specifically designed screen reader programmes which enable the visually impaired students to work independently in their own special lab and
not be dependant on other computer laboratories on the campus. The latest versions of Jaws and open book, (the main screen reader programs used by the blind) are now available in the centre. With the help of these speech oriented programs, the blind students are able to get rid of their certain limitations in different areas and become educationally independent. The facility of computer may also be used for those blind students who take their exams via computer.
4- Internet Surfing
Internet facilities are also available for research purposes. Using their screen reader program (jaws), a visually impaired person may also be able to surf internet independently and in equally effective manner like others.
5- Braille Magazines for Pleasure Reading
The centre for special students (CSS) also has a collection of different Braille magazines for the purpose of pleasure reading.
The magazines may also be issued to the students for a limited period of time. More over, the Braille books shall soon be added to this section of the centre.
6- Braille Dictionary
English to Urdu Braille dictionary designed by Aziz Jahan Bagum Trust for the Blind is available in the Centre. Consulting this six volumes Braille dictionary, the blind students find the greater solution to many of their English vocabulary problems as well as improve their English skills by exploring the meanings of countless words. This unparalleled facility for blind students may not be found in any other college/university of Pakistan.
7- Audio Books/Tutorials
Audio facilities and other related programs are also available for curricular and extracurricular learning. There are number of audio books and training tutorials on different subjects which the students may get from the centre. These training tutorials help the blind computer users discovering the in-depth knowledge regarding the screen reader programs as well as the MS office package.
The Centre provides the facility of books scanning which allow
the blind students to read their course material independently. For this very
purpose, the Centre has got the high speed scanner along with the special
program, Open book, which enables the visually impaired people to scan material
of their own and get it read with the help of speech output softwares.
Mr. Salman Khalid
M.A. English (GCU)
Novel, Special education
News & EVENTS
demands HEC to set up fund for special students
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman; Vice Chancellor, GC University
Lahore demanded the Higher Education Commission to set up a special fund
for developing facilities in public-sector for physically-challenged
students, saying that GCU is the only university in Pakistan that has a
state-of-the art Centre for Special Students. The Vice Chancellor was
addressing to a ceremony organized by the visually-impaired students of
GCU in connection the International Disability Day. University of
Management and Technology Dean of Arts Dr. Abdul Hameed, College of
Physicians and Surgeons Dean Dr. Khalid Jamil, Punjab University
Chairperson Special Education Dr. Humaira Bano
Leonard Cheshire Disability, UK Country Head Sir Imran Nazir and about 200
physically-challenged students from all over Pakistan attended the
In his presidential address, the Vice Chancellor said that there was no
special funding to the universities for the disabled by HEC or
government due to which these talented students faced difficulties. He
said that they would form committees which make a representation to HEC
for establishing fund for physically-challenged students. He said that
GCU had established the Centre for Special Students (CSS) for its
physically-challenged students from its own resources and also providing
them free education. He said that people would be surprised to know that
visually-impaired students were trained in using computers at GCU
through screen-reading software.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Abdul Hameed said disability was
inability, rather physically-challenged were found to be more talented
than normal students. He said that the Higher Education Commission
should prepare a separate curriculum and examination system for the
disabled, especially blind. College of Physicians and Surgeons Dean Dr.
Khalid Jamil said minorities and women were granted special
representation in Assemblies, but there were no special seats for the
disabled in the assembly. He requested the government that there should
be at least two seats for the disabled in each assembly of Pakistan. He
also laid a stress for legislation for securing quota and other right of
the disabled. Dr. Humiara Bano said that the disabled, especially
visually impaired students, put in a lot of effort to get education but
in practical life, they were not given jobs. “Even government institutes
don’t welcome them which was a matter great embarrassment,” she added.
Dr. Humiara said that there was no university in Pakistan which
organized special sports events or competitions for the disabled. “Even
HEC has never organized special sports contests for the disabled,” she
Centre for Special Students (CSS)
Room # 9, Main Building
GC University, Lahore
UAN #: 111-000-010 Ext: 244