Duma urged to revoke limits on disabled university students
Members of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation are calling on parliamentary deputies to revoke limits on the numbers of disabled students who can be offered university places. They say this should be done before admissions teams begin their work. The quota system is based on the principle that any single university will offer only one specialism.
The Public Chamber promotes access to higher education for people with disabilities. The cap imposed on student numbers entering universities under the ‘one university – one specialism’ quota infringes the rights of disabled people.
Ekaterina Kurbangaleeva, a member of the Public Chamber Commission on Social Policy said: ‘The Public Chamber of the Russian Federation noted this issue following a nation-wide monitoring of access to higher education for disabled people. This was conducted by the research centre Osoboe mnenie [A Unique View] together with members of our commission. We are hoping that deputies will accept amendments to the federal law On Education and that the next admissions process will go ahead under new conditions. Our job as the Public Chamber is to keep our citizens informed and organise a hotline to monitor the way universities are implementing new rules.’
This and other issues were discussed at a meeting of the Presidential Commission for Disabled People on 23 January, the Public Chamber press office reports. The agenda highlighted issues relating to employment and career guidance for disabled people; the work done by the Social Insurance Fund to provide rehabilitation resources; and preparation for a forthcoming presentation on Russia’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People in Geneva. It was recommended that the official delegation to Geneva should include members of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and non-commercial organisations, particularly those concerned with disability.
Kurbangaleeva said that the Public Chamber hotline indicated that almost 12% of calls related to the functioning of the Social Insurance Fund. In particular, people from the Sverdlovsk, Moscow and Omsk regions had complained that essential resources for reintegration programmes and access to rehabilitation centres were not being provided.
‘The Public Chamber Commission for Social Policy was instructed by the Presidential Commission to prepare a report on the workings of the Social Insurance Fund, following a review of grievances on the hotline.’
In the past, disabled students had to present the results of a medical and social assessment to the university admissions team. This requirement was revoked in 2017. A medical certificate is now sufficient for the right to concessionary university education to be confirmed.