Ola Zayed, a 25-year-old student, sits beside the sign language interpreter, during an Accounting course provided by CEC, and takes notes of what she considers useful for her future career.
The young woman, who lives in Abu Qash, north of Ramallah, said that she found her way through QOU. Many of her colleagues tried to enroll in other universities yet did not have the opportunity to resume their education, but she, and a number of her colleagues enrolled in CEC of the University branch in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, thanks to the sign language interpreter, could resume their education and overcome many obstacles.
Zayed mentioned that, assisted by the sign language interpreter at QOU and through CEC, she was able to accomplish courses which helped her develop her specialization in Accounting and Business administration. Zayed said,” without a sign language interpreter, you will not be able to benefit from the course as required, and this feature is available only at QOU”.
Ola is seeking to compete with her colleagues, who do not have a disability, on jobs she has recently been nominated for, and said that the course she received from the Center for Continuing Education and Community Service will help her to get one of those positions. She also seeks to complete her higher education in the next stage.
Ola calls on her colleagues with disabilities to work hard and have high determination to resume their higher education and advises them to enroll at Al-Quds Open University because it is a friendly University for people with disabilities as it provides them teaching aids and enables them to obtain a bachelor and master degree.
She recalls how she encountered big difficulties at the beginning, but the presence of the sign language interpreter made things easy. She advises other educational institutions to benefit from QOU experience by integrating the hearing and visual impaired students with students who don’t have hearing nor visual impairment, as this will facilitate their education and contribute to their better integration.
Asma Asi, a sign language interpreter at Al Quds Open University, explains that she is assisting people with disabilities in lectures, exams and courses. “I interpret to students what teachers say during exams. QOU conducted workshops to enhance the abilities of students with hearing impairment in various fields, especially in the field of computer.” She adds, “QOU is the first University in the country to provide a sign language interpreter. We have eight students with hearing disabilities in Ramallah and Al Bireh Branch, and I always work with them “.
Mr. Mahoud Al Hawamdeh, the Director of the Center for Continuing Education and Community Services, commented,“people with disabilities and their interests are among the priorities of our work . We are trying to provide the required educational tools and equip the disabled students with the necessary skills to help them find jobs and consequently improve their living conditions”.