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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 18:00 GMT
Students face disability struggle
Access to buildings and course choices are limited
More than 20 disabled students have told MSPs about the struggles they face attending college or university.

The students discussed a range of problems with the Scottish Parliament's equal opportunities committee.

Wheelchair users, visually-impaired students and those with dyslexia were among the group visiting Holyrood.

Issues included limited courses, poor access to buildings and a lack of support to help them make the transition from studying to working.

The event was organised by bosses at the National Union of Students in Scotland, together with the organisation Skill Scotland: National Bureau for Students With Disabilities.

The meeting formed part of the committee's evidence-gathering for its inquiry into the barriers disabled people face in society.

It is high time for disabled students to have opportunities available to them that suit their strengths and interests
Kevin Morris
NUS Scotland

Kevin Morris, disabled students officer for NUS Scotland, said: "This meeting is an important chance for disabled students in Scotland to discuss the barriers they face on a daily basis when looking to improve their skills and prospects in further or higher education.

"It is high time for disabled students to have opportunities available to them that suit their strengths and interests and that will enhance their prospects and employability."

He added: "NUS Scotland welcomes the openness of the equal opportunities committee to hold this meeting and listen to what disabled students have to say on the issues that affect them.

"I hope the committee will act effectively on what is discussed and make recommendations that will make a real difference by allowing disabled people to benefit from genuine choices in education and participate fully in society."

John Ireson, the director of Skill Scotland, said disabled people "are significantly under-represented" in Scottish colleges, universities, training programmes and employment.

He added: "More change is clearly required before disabled people have full access to the opportunities they deserve, and that they need to enjoy an equal lifestyle and to be unhindered in making their contribution to Scottish society.

"Skill Scotland is delighted the equal opportunities committee is taking these issues seriously and we look forward to the report of the disability inquiry making practical suggestions which will help to remove the barriers to disabled people achieving their full potential."

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