THE allegations that the visually impaired candidates have levelled against the Bangladesh Public Service Commission that the scribes that the authorities arranged for them were ‘not sincere and qualified’ are worth looking into. The candidates did not take the preliminary test of the 40th Civil Service Examinations, held on Friday morning, on that ground and held protests, banded together as the ‘council of the visually impaired graduates in search of jobs’, in front of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission in Dhaka, calling the attention of the authorities to their grievances. Students with visual impairment recently sought special considerations in public service recruitment, especially after quotas of all sorts in the recruitment process were cancelled on April 11, 2018 consequent on a prolonged movement by job-seekers for reforms in the job quota. The prime minister that time promised some arrangements for students having physical disabilities and those from national minorities. In an official circular on March 31, the Public Service Commission, accordingly, asked candidates with physical disabilities to apply seeking scribes from the commission so that it could arrange for the scribes.
Perceptions of disability among most Bangladeshis remain largely negative in the absence of adequate government efforts to create public awareness of the issues and, as the allegations show, efforts of the government to attend to the issue of physical disabilities appear to have been superficial. The government in line with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in October 2013 enacted the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2013, replacing the Disabled Welfare Act 2001, which is meant to afford people with disabilities, along with other issues, the right to discrimination-free employment opportunities while the Bangladesh constitution says that the government should ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights like everyone else does. Considering all this, the government should ensure an active participation of the people with disabilities in social, economic and national levels, keeping to the types of disability, and it should, therefore, put in place legal facilities and necessary environment for education and the place of employment. It is said, keeping to a 2004 estimate, that people with disabilities account for 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s population. People with visual impairment could definitely be much lower than that but the government should afford the required facilities to all such people, including the people with visual impairment, to turn such a large segment of the population more productive in national spheres.
The government, under the circumstances, must look into the allegations against the commission arranging for scribes who the candidates think are ‘not sincere and qualified.’ If an impartial inquiry finds the allegation to be true, the government must make amends and hold to account the people who are responsible for such a situation. The government must not forget that it needs to shore up a number of issues to effectively take people with disabilities into national spheres.
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