While it was possible for students with physical disabilities to enter the university through the normal intake, most faculties admit such students through special intake. However, in the past the facilities available to these students at the University of Colombo had been far from adequate. This was especially true of vision-impaired students although students with other forms of physical disabilities also have experienced difficulties resulting from the lack of adequate facilities.
Both International & National norms require that persons with disabilities are provided with special facilities in order to help them pursue their education on equal terms with persons without disabilities. The recently approved United Nation’s Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities says Article 24 Section 2 (d)-Persons with disabilities receive the support required within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education; (e)-Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion. In this context, it is highly appreciated that the University of Colombo which is the foremost institute of learning in the country has set an example by providing special facilities for them. In response to the various needs and shortcomings mentioned above, the Ability Centre for students with Special Needs of the University of Colombo was established in November 2004 with funds from Various donor agencies to meet the needs of the students with disabilities.