A student with cerebral palsy in Glasgow, Scotland never saw anything as an obstacle standing in his way to achieving his dreams. Unfortunately, the educational authorities in his country weren't on the same page.
The Glasgow Evening Times reported that Kyle Gunn, 19, was almost done with his media studies course at Clyde college and was planning on carrying on with his study by taking a two-year practical journalism class that would grant him a higher national diploma (HND). However, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) decided that Gunn wasn't going to succeed because his disability keeps him from passing shorthand tests.
The deeply unfair policy put him in a difficult position, but he doesn't know why as the student already does most of his work electronically due to his physical limitations.
“It’s not that I am unable to learn [shorthand], this is something I cannot help,” Gunn told reporters. But journalism, he continued, “is something that I really want to do. It seems really unfair that I would study for an HND for two years and not come away with the qualification.”
“I know a lot of other journalists and some have said they don’t have shorthand,” he added.
After hearing about how Gunn was treated by the educational establishment, West of Scotland MSP Maurice Golden took to Twitter to say that disabilities shouldn't pose extra barriers to any student.
This is deeply unfair - disability should be no barrier to encouraging hard work and talent. https://t.co/5Ss4ZYNny8— Maurice Golden MSP (@mgoldenmsp) August 21, 2017
Saying he would raise the issue with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Golden added that both he and the student's teachers would contact SQA and ask the board that they reconsider the shorthand qualifications.
“Kyle is a bright young man who is looking to make a career for himself in journalism but he is being told that he can’t because of his disability,” Golden told reporters. “We should be encouraging people with disabilities to pursue their dreams, not putting up barriers.”
Other politicians joined Golden on Twitter to protest the SQA's decision.
When asked to comment on this story, a spokesman for SQA refused to discuss individual candidates.
It's good to see that this case is being brought up as many other students like Gunn may have experienced similar disadvantages just because of disabilities. Knowing they are not alone and being aware that something is being done to bring this matter to justice can inspire others to continue fighting to achieve their goals — no matter what.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Flickr user Matthias Ripp