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Blind Man's Education Dream May Soon Realize

South China Normal University in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, may accept its first blind student later this month.


Xiao Yonghong, 27, who is from central China's Hunan Province, participated in the latest entrance examination for admission to the university's Internet School on Saturday. He should get his result on August 20.


The three-year course that Xiao applied for is in public administration. Xiao told China Daily yesterday that if he passed the college entrance exam, he would devote himself to education for the blind upon graduation.


"The Internet distance learning system used by our college was set up for the able-bodied," Xing Tao, an official in charge of recruitment for the college, told China Daily, "even though we have recruited some people who are missing limbs and deaf-mute students in the past two years."




Xing said that at present the college does not have facilities specifically for blind students.


One day last month, Xiao made his way to Xing's office to ask her for a chance to take the exam.


"We were moved by Xiao's sincerity, even though we intended to refuse his request at first," Xing said.


During the examination, the college assigned a teacher to help Xiao. "The teacher read the questions to me and wrote down the answers according to my reply," Xiao said.


Working in this way, Xiao completed all the questions in the required two hours. He felt pleased with his performance.


Currently, Xiao continues to work in the massage centre that he opened in Guangzhou in 2000.


Xing said that if Xiao has passed the exam, the college will accept him and will work out a feasible way to teach.


"Vocal teaching materials are one option," she said.


Even though it's a three-year course, Xiao says he can finish all the credit hours within five years. But he will need more than 7,000 yuan (US$863) to pay for his education.


"I would stop working in the massage centre once I start at the college," Xiao said.


Xiao began losing his sight in 1992, when he was 14, due to atrophy of the optical nerve. In 1996, he lost his sight completely and started to study blind massage at a college in his hometown.


"I never gave up reading and studying after I lost my sight," Xiao said.


He likes to read fiction in braille but a magazine especially for the blind is Xiao's favorite read.


He also enjoys listening to TV and radio programs "to keep me abreast with current developments," he said.


"My biggest wish is to find a job in a company and work as a normal person," Xiao said.


(China Daily August 11, 2005)

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