SCHOOLS and other educational institutions would be required to make provisions for disabled students under a code of practice being drafted by the Equal Opportunities Commission. The comprehensive code, which would be enshrined in a Disability Discrimination Ordinance, would cover all aspects of education, including student selection and enrolment. It states that students with a disability should be provided with care in ordinary schools, and that schools and examination authorities should provide adequate facilities for the disabled. It also says that: Students with weak eyesight should be provided with textbooks in big characters and those with hearing problems should be allowed to wear hearing aids during examinations; Disabled students should have access to ordinary schools; Schools without lifts should allow disabled students to study in classrooms on the ground floor. Handrails and special entrances should be added for them; Handicapped students should not be excluded from extracurricular activities. The code of practice calls for teachers to be trained in how to deal with handicapped students, while students should be taught how to accommodate their disabled classmates. It will also stipulate what constitutes good practice for equal opportunities at schools. The commission hopes this can provide a model for principals, teachers and students. The rules are being drafted by the Hong Kong Institute of Education and are expected to become effective by the end of next year, when the consultation exercise will end. Meanwhile, new Equal Opportunities Commission chairwoman Anna Wu Hung-yuk said this week that discrimination against the poor remained a serious problem, even though anti-discrimination laws were enacted three years ago. 'Education is a basic need for everyone and I hope this will be a good start in promoting equal opportunities to our new generation,' she said. 'This code of practice will raise discussion on the rights of the disabled and serve as a legislative tool.' Concerns over the rights of disabled students were raised in June when a child was barred from school because he was temporarily wheelchair-bound. He finally won the right to return to the school after his parents complained to the commission. The move was welcomed by Tik Chi-yuen, chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation and a member of the Board of Education. He said the rules would provide a boost to a pilot programme on integration. Mr Tik said that since 1997 only 21 primary and secondary schools had joined the scheme to help disabled students studying in ordinary schools.