Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj during a conference held by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Social Solidarity Facebook page)
Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj, who was speaking at a conference held by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities on Monday, expalined that the number of students whose tuition fees are currently covered is being increased "to ensure that students with special needs have equal access to education."
Egypt allocates EGP 5 billion annually to support people with disabilities, El-Qabbaj explained.
There are nearly 20 million Egyptians with special needs, according to the latest statistics issued by Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2020.
El-Qabbaj also announced yesterday that the ministry would pay for a sign-language interpreter at all Egyptian universities.
"More than 630 rehabilitation and training centres have been established for people with disabilities,” El-Qabbaj said, adding that the ministry is sponsoring the inclusion of sports activities at these institutions.
El-Qabbaj also explained that there is coordination with the Ministry of Education to ensure equal educational opportunities for children with disabilities at schools and pre-schools.
The social solidarity ministry will issue integrated service cards for anyone who has a clear physical disability using old health certificates so they do not need to conduct a periodical medical exam, according to the minister. The cards will be subject to the conditions and rules set by the Ministry of Health and Population.
Meanwhile, last month, the transport and social solidarity ministries signed a cooperation protocol to adopt measures to facilitate access to public transportation for people with disabilities.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered in January the creation of a comprehensive database for people with physical disablities, with the aim of establishing an integrated system of high-level medical services to people with physical disabilities to ease burdens and help them integrate into all areas of society.
In December, during a celebration of the International Day for Disabled Persons, El-Sisi also ordered the establishment of a special fund for Egyptians with special needs as well as the inclusion of the needs of Egyptians with disabilities in the countryside-focused Decent Life national project.