The University of Jordan launched the first stage of the Safe Pathway project for the visually impaired under the patronage of His Highness Prince Mired bin Ra’ad head of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities with support from the US Agency for International Development.
The President of The University of Jordan said that the project, which its second stage was announced during the launch, is the first of its kind in Jordan, stating that the University, in pursuance of its vision for academicand research excellence, adopted it through the Department of Student Guidance in the Deanship of Student Affairs.
In turn, the representative of His Highness Prince Mirad bin Ra’ad, Secretary General of the Council, Dr. Muhannad Al-Azza stated that this project is for the service of more than 200 students of the University who are visually impaired, in order to limit the challenges that face them such as moving between different faculties and departments on campus independently because of the lack of ground indicators. This project came as part of a series of activities launched by “ Rights and Integration of Persons with Difficulties”. It will be implemented inside the University’s campus with a set course of 140 meters.
Ms. Nancy Eslick ,Deputy Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), spoke on behalf of the Agency about their 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 and countries. 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 ensures equal opportunities for access to education among students, came to actualize the vision of the University, which has been always supportive of their rights. Also to implement the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities No. 20 of 2017 that stipulates the importance of including environmental preparation in public utilities. She also added that the "Safe Pathway" consists of protruding long lines that give indication to the person that he/she is on a straight path. Other indications include circular points to serve as warning signals before going down or up the stairs and before turning or changing the path. These indicators are colored inyellow so that visually impaired students can identifythe roads through them.
She noted that this project is made possible by the cooperation between The University of Jordan and USAID Civil Society Support Program (2013-2018) that is funded by USAID and implemented by the International Family Health Organization (360FHI) as a prototype in The University of Jordan.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Eng. Saeed Al-Ayasra presented a detailed explanation of the project, announcing its second phase. He notes that the track area for the Safe Pathway project was chosen on the basis of several suggestions and the participation of students with visual disabilities along with responsible bodies at the university. He also stated that an advisory committee was set up consisting of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Royal Scientific Society and The University of Jordan to follow up on the progress of the work, alongside other specialistsand members from the USAID program,with the participation of the Supreme Council for the Rights of Persons with Visual Disabilities to meet with the University students who arevisually impaired or are blind to examine the two samples and choose the best.
One of the students benefiting from the project, Dr. 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.