|Rep. Chang Byung-wan of the minor opposition Minsaeng Party has asked universities to improve accessibility to online lectures for physically-challenged students as more schools turn to online classes to prevent spread of coronavirus on campuses. / Yonhap|
By Yi Whan-woo
A veteran lawmaker and long-time advocate of the disabled has called on universities to improve online learning environments for physically-challenged students.
Chang Byung-wan, a three-term lawmaker of the minor opposition Minsaeng Party, says many universities fail to provide caption, sign language and other relevant services for handicapped students as they run online classes as part of efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus on campuses.
Chang, who also has served as the head of an advocacy group for the disabled in Gwangju and South Jeolla Province for 10 years, said such a failure will push them "further into the blind zone."
"Such a blind zone existed even before coronavirus hit the country. And discrimination against physically-challenged students is becoming more apparent as the schools introduce online classes nowadays," Chang said in a press release last week. "The government should make sure the schools do not let their students fall behind in learning just because of their physical background, by adopting measures such as sign language and caption services."
Chang seeks for his fourth parliamentary seat in the April 15 general election.
Among his pledges for physically-challenged people are improving media accessibility, better transportation services and tailor-made service for individuals.
"I will continue to make efforts to make a society where disabled and non-disabled people can live in harmony," he said.
He also urged the government to come up with measures to guarantee rights to vote for the physically-disabled.
A South Jeolla Province native, Chang has represented the Gwangju constituency for three straight terms since 2010.