Over the past five years, 145 disabled students in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southwest China, have been given a chance to receive normal education in secondary schools and universities.
This region has some 2.48 million disabled people, who account for 5.53 percent of its total population.
Improving the educational level of handicapped children has long been high on the regional government's agenda. The Guangxi Disabled Persons' Federation has worked closely with the local education and civil affairs departments, and the local Communist Youth League and women's federation to help disabled children to get access to ordinary school education.
The federation is involved in negotiating with schools to help disabled students who have passed the national standard examinations for secondary schools and university entrance realize their dreams of studying in normal schools.
The region has built 45 special schools, which currently have some 20,540 disabled students enrolled. The attendance rate of school-age blind, deaf and mentally-handicapped children has reached 70 percent.
More than 230 tutorial stations for handicapped people have sprung up in Guangxi over the past five years, linked to a rehabilitation network.
In the same period, community disabled people's service centers
have been effective in helping over 95,000 disabled people to get access to school education, and 70,000 disabled women to take iodine to avoid congenital physical disabilities.
Li Xiaofeng, head of the local Disabled Persons' Federation, said that the regional government has promulgated a series of regulations to ensure more job opportunities for disabled people. Over the past five years, 52,900 disabled people in the region's townships and cities have found jobs.
However, staff with the federation still face a tough job of getting some 220,000 disabled people above the state's poverty line.
As Guangxi's living standard is comparatively low, its work of improving the living conditions of disabled people is much more difficult than in eastern and southern China.
(People's Daily 02/19/2001)