The Disabilities Unit Project at Sultan Qaboos University set up in cooperation with Oman LNG, was inaugurated at the College of Arts and Social Sciences on Wednesday, 9 October 2019, under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Said Al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development in the presence of H.E. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU.
The project includes a laboratory of assistive technologies equipped with the latest computer equipment and systems that make it easier for the students to access knowledge resources at the college without relying on others. The project provides all the corridors of the college with floor guides that help blind students to move inside the college campus independently, in addition to signboards in Braille on all office and classroom doors, the automated doors will help those with mobility impairments to move easily in the premises.
Dr. Mohammed Ali Al Balushi, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, said that the College established the first computer lab in 2009 with some computer programs that help students with visual disabilities to access the digital content of their courses, and the number of beneficiaries did not exceed six students in three specializations. In the following years, the number of students with special needs increased significantly, especially students with visual disabilities. The number of students with special needs admitted to the college has increased to more than 50 in the academic year 2018-2019, and the college is looking forward to further increase the number of such students. These students will have the opportunity to enter more disciplines that meet their aspirations and desires.
Ismail bin Sulaiman Al Sawafi, Head of Sustainable Development, Oman LNG, said that the Disabilities Unit includes a special laboratory for blind students equipped with their latest electronic devices, the installation of electronic doors and Braille sensors for all corridors in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, in addition to the installation of talking devices. The staircases and classroom and office doors are equipped with special Braille plates to smoothen the mobility of blind students. He pointed out that Oman LNG is always proud to host a number of social initiatives that have contributed to the development of vital sectors such as health, education, environment and training of national forces, in addition to supporting small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, which undoubtedly had a significant impact on promoting economic opportunities in the Sultanate.