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/ disabled students registered at present from
first-year to PhD are about 150.
The credit for this centre goes to
Prof. Dr. Khalid Aftab, the 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
The Centre for Special Students (CSS)
is attached with GCU Library for administrative affairs.
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 below:
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
transcribe question sheets.
same Braille machines may also be used by the students to transcribe
books/notes and other material related to their college courses.
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
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.
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
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.
News & Events
GCU HOLDS Disability AWARENESS Seminar
Disability is just a perception; and Waqas Ahmed, who
according his doctors has a neuro-disability level of more than 79
percent is a living example, and an inspiration for all the
physically-challenged people across the globe. Waqas, whose life moves
on with a push of a button of his special wheel-chair, donated
wheel-chairs and white cane to the Centre for Special Students (CSS) of
his alma mater, the Government College University Lahore.
Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah Tuesday hosted a
special ceremony in the honor of his lion-hearted alumni who has been
facing multiple neurological disorders since his childhood. But, the
brave soul never fell in the valley of despair. Rather, after studying
six years at GCU, he in 2008 decided to establish an NGO, ‘pace2life’
for helping the other financially and physically-challenged and now more
than 400 Old Ravians and Ravians were voluntarily working with him at
his NGO, carrying out different welfare activities from Balakot to Jhang.
Waqas Ahmed, who hate the hate the word ”disability”, uses computer from
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor Prof Shah said
that about 150 physically-challenged, mostly visually impaired, are
currently studying at GCU, adding that GCU had a strong tradition it did
not refuse admission to any physically-challenged student. Rather, the
university has modified its facilities for their free movement. He said
Waqas Ahmed was not only a role model for physically-challenged people,
rather he was an inspiration for every-one of us.
Addressing the ceremony, Waqas said that he had
established ‘pace2life’ because he didn’t want others to face the
quandaries, he had confronted in his life. He said he took pride in the
fact that he had never ceased struggle despite lacking physical
normalcy. I never depended on anyone. I find myself better than many
sad-faced youths who never exploited their potentials. He said the
disabled was not the one who can’t work, disabled was the one who
doesn’t work. I hate when somebody call me disable. Please stop using
Dr. Khalid Jamil Akhtar, a scholar and medical
professional, said Waqas was a miracle as many people having neuro-disability
level of more than 50 percent could not even mover out of their rooms.
But, Waqas is surprisingly neither only moves and travels, rather works
independently. He advised Waqas to work start working on motivating the
physically-challenged people that how to become independent in their
lives while facing different physical challenges.
GCU CSS Incharge Salman Khalid said that they had enough
resources by the university, but the wheel-chairs and white cans,
donated by Waqas, had a special message that everybody must pay back the
debt of his lama mater as per his/her capacity and resources. The
ceremony was followed by walk which was aimed awareness about the rights
and special abilities of physically-challenged people. The walk was led
by the Vice Chancellor while a large number faculty members and students
were also present.
for Special Students (CSS)
Main Building Room # 9,
GC University, Lahore