The University of Jordan (UJ) has concluded the first phase of the Safe Pathways project for people with visually impairment, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Civic Initiative Support Programme.
UJ President Prof. Abdul Karim Al-Qudah said the project, of which the second phase will begin soon, is the first of its kind in Jordan, stating that the University, in pursuance of its vision for academic and research excellence, has adopted the initiative through the Department of Student Guidance at the Deanship of Student Affairs.
In turn, the representative of His Highness Prince Mirad bin Ra’ad, Secretary General of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Muhannad Al-Azza stated that this project will serve more than 200 visually impaired students at the University, and aims to ease their movement across the campus.
The first phase of the project is 500 metres long and extends from the main gate of the University to the Deanship of Student Affairs building, whereas the second phase will cover a 1 kilometre area with a cost around JOD102,000.
Nancy Eslick, Deputy Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), confirmed that they strive to reach all sort of students who suffer from difficulties, ensuring the Agency’s determination to facilitate education for a large number of educational institutes in different areas. She also expressed her gratitude for the partners and sponsors from Jordan for their efforts in the success of the Agency’s projects.
Director of the Department of Student Guidance Dr. Mariam Ziadat, stated that this project, which aims at giving students with disabilities their independence and ensuring that they have equal access to education, comes to actualize the University's policy to support the rights of people with disabilities. Also to implement the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities No. 20 of 2017, that stipulates the importance of including specific environmental preparation in public utilities.
She noted that this project is made possible by the cooperation between the University of Jordan and USAID Civic Initiatives Support Program and implemented by the International Family Health Organization (360FHI).
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Eng. Saeed Al-Ayasra presented a detailed explanation of the project, announcing its second phase. He noted that the track was chosen on the basis of several suggestions and the participation of students with visual disabilities along with responsible bodies at the University and the government.
According the project coordinator Hadeel Abu Soufeh, the track is made of textured tactile yellow tiles, which visually impaired people can recognize with their feet or sticks. The fluorescent colour especially helps if the person suffers partial sight loss.
One of the students benefiting from the project, Omar Abu Haneya, pointed out that the project guarantees their right to higher education by providing accessibility in line with the Jordanian Constitution, and the applicable laws and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.