Call for accessible facilities

A BUDGETARY submission was made yesterday calling for more accessible and disability friendly facilities and premises at the main Fiji National University (FNU) campus in Nasinu.

FNU student Peniasi Rawaidranu, who is confined to a wheelchair, made the oral submission to Minister for Economy and Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the second 2018/2019 budget consultations for tertiary students at the FNU Nasinu campus.

Mr Rawaidranu had asked if Government could increase FNU’s budget allocation in the new financial year, setting aside a fund to refurbish the premises at its Nasinu campus and make it more accessible, including its dormitories.

“I find it difficult in entering the academic office because it’s not accessible and so I have to call somebody, at least to lift me inside the office because it is not accessible,” he said.

“This is my first year and coming in wheelchair, I find it difficult in some of the places because it is not accessible.

“And also some of our members who come from Vanua Levu and Western Division, if they want to continue their studies, can they be provided accessible dormitories.”

Mr Rawaidranu also called for an increase in FNU’s budget to build a disability resource centre, where students with disabilities could come, seek assistance and do their studies.

FNU has an office for disability services (ODS) which is responsible for co-ordinating support services, reasonable academic accommodations and promoting disability awareness in the university community.

While Mr Sayed-Khaiyum clarified that these issues were raised through FNU’s council in its budget submissions, he said they would consider the submissions.

FNU was allocated $56.1 million as part of the 2017-2018 budget, which is an increase by $11m from previous years, with an additional capital grant of $6.5m.