In a breakthrough for the disabled, the national university entrance exam is being translated into braille so four blind students can take the test in Shanghai. 'This is the first time that blind students will be permitted to attend university in China,' said Wang Xin, of the Shanghai Education Commission. A de facto ban on the blind studying beyond secondary level has been in place across the mainland since 1949, but Shanghai is pushing for a policy shift. 'Everyone, including the blind, should have an equal opportunity to receive an education at every level,' Ms Wang said. An appeal to the Shanghai government by the four blind students instigated change. Xiang Jiaxiang, vice-president of Shanghai Normal University, said the four wrote to Shanghai Vice-Mayor Zhou Muyao to ask to sit the test. Mr Zhou directed the city's Education Commission to allow the students to take the exam and enter a university in Shanghai. Mr Xiang said his school agreed to create a basic teaching infrastructure for the blind after another local college declined to admit sight-impaired students. 'Of course, there will be many difficulties in working out a programme for the blind, and it will require a significant investment,' conceded Mr Xiang, who runs the programme. He said he was unsure where the funding would come from. Nor was it clear if college admissions for the blind would extend beyond Shanghai.