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Braille test papers to be made available for national English exam
May 18,2017   By:People's Daily Online

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May 18, 2017 -- Chinese education authorities on May 16 promised to offer Braille test papers in the upcoming College English Test (CET) for blind and visually impaired test-takers, in an effort to provide disabled students with better educational resources.

The National Education Examinations Authority, a subordinate body of the Ministry of Education, told the People’s Daily that Braille tests will be available for the CET beginning in June 2018. The announcement was made after Xiao Qian (pseudonym), a visually impaired college student at Changchun University, sued China’s Ministry of Education on May 10, demanding that students with disabilities be guaranteed the ability to take the CET.

Though China already provides Braille exam papers for several national-level exams, such as the national college entrance examination, the CET was not previously included in that group. The exam is mandatory for all university students in China who are not English majors. In addition, graduates are sometimes denied degrees or good jobs if they don't earn a high score on the CET.

“I sent requests twice to local educational authorities [in Jilin province], asking them to provide Braille test papers. After failing to receive a clear reply, I had no choice but to bring a suit against the Ministry of Education,” Xiao Qian told Thepaper.cn, stressing the importance of a CET score for her master's degree applications.

In response to Xiao’s request, the National Education Examinations Authority emphasized that it is complicated to offer Braille test papers, as doing so requires the involvement of professionals and special equipment. Nevertheless, the authorities, together with several other organizations, have spent a year working to produce a Braille version of the exam, in an effort to eliminate discrimination against disabled test-takers.