OVER 60 public schools have had no lifts installed on their premises, prompting education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen (葉建源) to urge the government to build more lifts to allow for a barrier-free environment.
Ip surveyed 119 no-lift schools on a 2012 Legislative Council list, and found 80 percent of those that have responded are still waiting for approval to install lifts. Half of them have applied for more than five years; 35 percent for more than eight years.
Ip said the main principle behind “barrier-free” was free access to the whole school for the disabled. Also, having a lift could help students with injuries, pregnant teachers and allow furniture to be moved freely.
Sixteen schools said they had not admitted disabled students because they do not have lifts. One had applied 10 years ago, but the Education Bureau (教育局) replied stating that it had not admitted any student with a need to use a lift. Its principal said no disabled students were admitted because “admission was screened out” by the bureau.
Ip questioned why only five lift applications were accepted annually. The bureau said its fixed budget could only afford a limited number of applications as lift installations are complicated and expensive.
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (香港教育專業人員協會) noted the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (殘疾歧視條例) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a student with a disability, and not providing accessible facilities in the absence of “unjustifi able hardship” would be a violation of the ordinance’s code of practice.
(This article is published on Student Standard on 01 November 2017)
Concerns about barrier-free facilities at schools
Disability Discrimination Ordinance – Code of Practice on Education