Deaf girl all set to graduate

Thursday August 2, 2007

Deaf girl all set to graduate


PETALING JAYA: Deaf student Selina Ooi Shin Ping broke into tears last week when she learnt that her name was not on the list for her university's coming convocation.

Ooi has a cumulative grade point average of 3.3, but Multimedia University (MMU) requires students to get at least a Band Three score in the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) to graduate, and she had only managed a Band Two.

This week, however, the 23-year-old is all smiles and cannot wait to put on her robes on Aug 13 to collect her scroll.

Family time: Ooi (left) communicating with her mother using sign language as her sister Jocelyn Ooi Shin Yee looks on at their home recently.
MMU vice-president (research & development and academic development) Prof Chuah Hean-Teik said Ooi’s case was referred recently to the university senate, which unanimously agreed to award her the degree.

“The Faculty of Creative Multimedia confirmed that she had met all the requirements except for the MUET exam,” he said on Tuesday.

“The management of the university is proud to see her graduate.”

Ooi’s mother, teacher Joanna Cheah Kooi Mei, contacted The Star last week out of desperation when it appeared that her daughter might not be able to graduate despite taking the MUET three times.

“Because my daughter cannot hear or speak, it is very difficult for her to improve her command of English,” said the single mother of three.

She also pointed out that Ooi had been exempted from the listening and speaking components of the language test and only sat for the reading and writing sections.

However, the scores given by the Malaysian Examination Council had not been adjusted accordingly and were based on just the marks from the reading and writing components.

According to Cheah, earlier efforts to appeal to both the Higher Education Ministry and the MMU administration to look into the special circumstances involved were unsuccessful.

Ooi not only made it to the Dean’s List twice but also won an award for her final-year project.

Now that she is set to obtain her Bachelor of Multimedia, the interface design major aims to create products that will ease the lives of the deaf and other disabled people.

“I am very happy that I can finally graduate with my Bachelor's degree. I have to especially thank my mum for her love and support she has given me,” Ooi said.

See Star newspaper

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