‘Dyslexic students need teachers’

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THERE is a shortage of certified special education teachers in Brunei to cater to students with dyslexia, said an education officer at the Special Education Unit (UPK).

Dyslexia is a learning disability that makes it hard to learn to read and can also affect writing, spelling and even speaking.

In an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday, Hjh Siti Noraminah Hj Abdul Lamin, an education officer at the UPK under the Dyslexia Intervention Programme Section, said more teachers are needed to be trained in special education needs.

She noted that the number of students identified with dyslexia is increasing.

While she couldn’t disclose the exact number of students diagnosed with dyslexia registered under the UPK, Hjh Siti Noraminah said the figure is ‘growing’ every year, with Brunei-Muara district recording the highest number of dyslexic students.

She added that the limited availability of special education teachers in the sultanate is one of the challenges currently faced by the unit.

She noted that there are only 25 certified teachers and special education officers in Brunei that can teach students with dyslexia.

According to the Ministry of Education, there are more than 10,800 teachers in Brunei.

“To be honest, it’s one of our challenges. We do have teachers who are interested in getting basic training on how to handle dyslexic students, but the roles and responsibilities of teachers in schools are already (too many).

“This makes intervention very hard for them,” she said.

Hjh Siti Noraminah said there are currently 16 certified teachers in both primary and secondary schools who can teach students with dyslexia while only two lecturers are certified to teach such students at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

She said awareness on dyslexia is notably poor amongst members of the public, adding that more awareness needs to be created.

“Dyslexia isn’t a disease. It’s a condition you’re born with that causes you to have trouble processing words or numbers, and many don’t know this,” she said.

She said knowledge that helps teachers identify dyslexia amongst children is also poor.

“Awareness and knowledge about learning disorders amongst school teachers play a major role in early identification and management of children with dyslexia. If teachers attend training or workshops, they will be able to have basic knowledge to identify dyslexic students, and this is very important,” she said.

Some students with dyslexia are labeled as ‘slow’ or ‘not bright’ and rendered socially and academically disadvantaged because many people don’t know about dyslexia, but this is far from the truth, she said.

“It’s not true that students with dyslexia aren’t smart. They can access any job prospects that are suitable with their interests and needs. There are no boundaries for them to succeed.”

The Brunei Times