Brunei sees rise in hearing impaired students

National 2 minutes, 9 seconds


THE Special Education Unit (UPK) has seen an increase in hearing impaired students this year.

Head of Section and coordinator of support services for students with hearing impairment at UPK Dr Hjh Norbayah Hj Shahminan said 150 hearing impaired students registered for 2016, an increase from previous years.

Dr Hjh Norbayah said the increase can be attributed to the involvement of parents who are now more aware of the need to send hearing impaired children to UPK for education purposes.

“The public, especially parents, are now more aware of the importance of referring to proper bodies so early intervention can be provided... as soon as after the special needs student is diagnosed,” she said.

The special education officer said that there were a total of 143 hearing impaired students who registered at the centre last year, while 136 hearing impaired students enrolled in 2014.

Dr Hjh Norbayah added that out of the 156 hearing impaired students that registered with UPK this year, seven were pre-school students, 65 were primary students and 74 were in secondary school.

She said that only four hearing impaired students are in tertiary schools.

She went on to state that there are currently 20 hearing impaired students enrolled in private schools, while 136 are enrolled in government schools.

The UPK officer explained that parents now know it is better to bring their children with special needs to UPK rather than to keep them at home.

“At UPK, the children could get the education and therapy based on their needs,” she said.

Dr Hjh Norbayah then highlighted the importance of inclusive education, adding that all children can benefit from it in many ways.

“Inclusive education is very important for equality. It provides opportunities for every child to succeed,” she said.

She added that inclusive education can only be successful when students feel they are a part of the school and community.

The education officer said inclusive education differs from separate education as all children, regardless of differences, have the opportunity to learn with and from each other, noting that special needs students will feel less isolated from the rest of the community.

“Inclusive education becomes effective only with the loving touch of teachers who have empathy, capability and aptitude for teaching,” she said.

“A great teacher can enable a child with special needs to overcome his disabilities and make them a productive citizen of society,” added Dr Hjh Norbayah.

According to the special education officer, UPK also provides education programmes and services to help ensure that students with special needs can participate in their learning effectively and meet their specific needs through curriculum modification.

The Brunei Times