Supporting students with special education needs

National 2 minutes, 2 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE education minister yesterday said that 4, 161 special needs children currently enrolled in various schools in the country.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman said during the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting that there were 169 of these special needs students at pre-school, 2,935 at primary level, 973 at secondary, and 84 at post-secondary level.

The breakdown in the number of special needs children attending schools in various levels was in response to questions posed by LegCo Member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Kerna Dato Paduka Seri Hj Yaakub Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Zainal.

The LegCo member asked about the ministry’s actions and plans to further enhance the operations and effectivity of the Children Development Centre (CDC) and the Special Education Unit. He also raised the question if the centre and the unit have enough specialists and skilled teachers to aid in the education of the special needs students.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi went on to say that the special education unit was set up to implement the inclusive education policy, where the focus is to provide education according to the individual education needs of each student. Close cooperation does exist between all stakeholders through membership in a committee comprised of the Ministries of Education, and of Culture, Youth and Sports; and CDC of the Ministry of Health and the Department of Islamic Studies.

He also said the special education unit has been running a variety of programmes such as the special aid, learning aid, pre-vocational secondary programme, and educational programme for gifted children. The special aid programme is for individual’s education plan while the learning aid programme is based on the remedial education plan for those having difficulties in their studies and in need of remedial classes in government schools.

Support services are also extended to the children such as educational psychology support, therapy sessions for pupils with speech and oral communication problems, assistance for those with eyesight disorder, continuing education support for student-patients undergoing long-term treatment at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital, added the minister.

“To run those programmes, specialists and skilled teachers are required,” he said. The ministry now has a total of 49 specialists in a variety of disciplines such as educational psychology, autism, dyslexia assistive technology at education, speech therapy and special education, while there are 145 special education needs assistance teachers, assisted by a learning support teacher.

The Brunei Times