The Education of Ashif Jaffer

Every day Ashif Jaffer heads out to Toronto's Ryerson University, satchel in hand and makes his way to a seminar classroom.

By his very presence in that classroom, he is breaking new ground.

Ashif Jaffer has Down's Syndrome.

Until not so long ago, the idea of a student with Down's Syndrome in a university was unthinkable.

After all, how could a person with an intellectual disability belong in a place built for higher learning?

The gates to the universities have widened considerably, to include people with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities, and schools also provide all kinds of support to make that possible.

But intellectual disabilities present a conundrum.

Some Canadian universities and colleges have welcomed people with Down's Syndrome - but only to audit individual courses or participate in special programs.

Ashif Jaffer wants to change that.

He's now registered in one course but his dream - and his mother's dream - is for a full university education and the degree that goes with it.

Ashif's story is about testing limits - his own and the university's.

Produced and Presented by Alisa Siegal for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Available now

25 minutes

Last on

Mon 15 Aug 2011 01:05 GMT

The Compass

The Compass - branding 1920

The essential take on big ideas, issues and trends from the 21st century

The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Every episode of The Documentary, on your mp3 player, to play wherever you are