In a notable initiative, Limkokwing University and OKU Sentral, a leading NGO for Persons with Disabilities (PWD), collaborated to host an Open Day dedicated to inclusivity and empowerment. This event, a first in the nation, signified a significant stride towards integrating PWD into the mainstream of higher education.
Limkokwing University has long been recognised for its progressive approach to education, consistently striving to break barriers and foster an inclusive environment. By partnering with OKU Sentral for the Open Day event, the university has reinforced its dedication to creating opportunities for all students, regardless of their physical or mental abilities. The university has been at the forefront of designing innovative educational programmes that cater to the diverse needs of its student body. These programmes are academically rigorous and tailored to be accessible and accommodating to students with disabilities. This approach ensures that PWD students are not just admitted to the university but are also provided with a supportive and enabling environment to thrive in their academic pursuits.
First Admiral Dato’ Subramaniam Raman, Secretary General of the Paralympic Council Malaysia and a VIP guest at the event provided critical insights into the realities faced by the PWD community. “In our population of 32 million, 14.2% are individuals with disabilities,” Dato’ Subramaniam remarked, highlighting the vast yet often unnoticed segment of the society.
In addition to tailored educational programmes, Limkokwing University has also unveiled scholarship schemes specifically for PWD students. These scholarships are a crucial step in levelling the playing field and providing financial assistance to those who might otherwise be unable to afford higher education. The university also offers support services, including counselling, personalised learning assistance, and accessible campus facilities, to ensure that PWD students have a fulfilling university experience.
Commending Limkokwing University’s and OKU Sentral’s efforts, he said, “Today’s event is a significant step towards blending visibility with real connectivity. It’s about crafting an environment where mutual understanding and respect flourish.”
Dato’ Subramaniam spoke about the broader implications of the day’s events. “It’s not just about academic qualifications; it’s about recognising and nurturing the unique capabilities of each individual,” he emphasised.
Beyond academic and financial support, Limkokwing University actively fosters a culture of empathy and understanding among all its students and staff. Through various initiatives and events, such as this Open Day with OKU Sentral, the university promotes awareness and appreciation of the challenges faced by the PWD community. These efforts aim to build a more empathetic and inclusive society, starting within the university’s walls.
Dato’ Subramaniam underscored the importance of sports in empowering the disabled, a tenet of the Paralympic Council Malaysia. “Sports is a fantastic equaliser. It’s a domain where people, regardless of their disabilities, can showcase their abilities and enjoy a sense of accomplishment,” he noted.
Kumarusamy Sithambaram, Treasurer of the Paralympic Council Malaysia, agreed. He specifically focused on the necessity for academic pathways for PWD. “Academic pursuits are vital, especially post-sports career,” he stated. Kumarusamy shared poignant experiences of parents and PWD seeking educational opportunities but facing institutional hurdles. “It’s about inclusivity in academics. We need to adapt our educational frameworks to be more inclusive and accommodating,” Kumarusamy advocated.
In partnering with OKU Sentral, the Open Day at Limkokwing University represented a commitment to inclusivity and empowering the PWD community. This commitment to inclusivity exemplifies how education can be a powerful tool for societal change. Through its pioneering efforts, Limkokwing University is educating minds and shaping a more inclusive and empathetic future.