Thursday March 21, 2013
Deaf dancer one step closer to realising dream
CHENG CHENG is one of the angelic faces performing the dance, The Goddess Of Mercy Of A Thousand Hands. She spends most of her waking moments practising her dance steps, without music.
Soon, Cheng and her 22 dancing partners in the troupe, all with hearing disabilities, will have another mission: obtaining a college diploma like other people their age.
These young artistes, aged 18 to 31, belong to the Chinese Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe which is based in Beijing, China.
Having passed the national examinations for self-taught adults last October, they started school at the China Youth University for Political Sciences last week. CYUPS is the first Chinese institute of higher education to enrol disabled students and offer state-certified college degrees.
Cheng and her friends will be in one class, majoring in social services. The three-year curriculum covers more than 15 subjects, including sociology, psychology, theories of public relations and internship.
Yang Peng, president of the school of continuing education of CYUPS, says the school is engaging new sign language teachers. It will also make an adjustment to the curriculum to suit the students’ needs, like shifting the focus on speaking to reading.
“The students of the troupe will learn and be tested just like other students. They’ll also get hands-on experiences in the real world,” Yang says.
Tai Lihua, the president and art director of the troupe, hopes her young members will use the opportunity to pave their way to a better future.
“Entering a ‘normal’ university means they have a much better chance of realising their dreams and being successful in whatever they hope to be. Education will broaden their horizon and they will blend into society better,” she says.
China has more than 20 million people with a hearing impairment but there are only a few schools that offer high-level education.
Cheng, who has been dancing for six years, hopes to become a social worker after she retires and serve the disabled in her hometown in the Jiangsu province.
She is gearing up for the new school term.
“I know there will be obstacles but I’m really excited to go to college. I’ll work doubly hard!” – China Daily/Asia News Network