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Appeal to Singapore to dispatch teachers for children with special needs too, says MCA

Publish date: Thu, 13 Jun 2024, 07:36 PM

IN response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s initiative to engage Singaporean teachers for English instruction and other subjects, an MCA leader said the educational needs of children with learning disabilities must be addressed as well.

MCA education consultative committee deputy chairperson Felicia Wong Yin Ting said special needs children require tailored interventions to overcome development delays and foster holistic development, reducing the risk of secondary disabilities such as mental health issues during childhood until adulthood.

“It is crucial to provide additional support in mainstream schools for these special children, in particular for those from B40 and M40 households, who face socialisation challenges and are often subject to bullying due to their learning disabilities and lack of interactive skills,” Wong remarked in a statement on Thursday (June 13).

“Singapore’s approach to special education offers valuable insights that Malaysia could adapt to its context.”

Wong said this in light of Malaysia’s request for Singapore to consider sending their teachers to teach English and other subjects, especially in certain regions or areas in the country, as reported by the media yesterday (June 12).

The issue was raised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during discussions with his Singapore counterpart Lawrence Wong, who was in Malaysia on an official visit.

While acknowledging the recent allocation of RM200 mil to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, Wong stressed that more concerted efforts are needed for children with learning disabilities.

“Collaboration with the private sector, as proposed by Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, aligns with national education goals and could enhance support for special needs programmes,” she noted.

“By tapping into Singapore’s expertise and potentially deploying teachers with these specialised skills, Malaysia can bridge the gap in educational opportunities for Students with Special Educational Needs (MBPK) and their mainstream peers, promote inclusivity as highlighted among the goals of Malaysia Madani and enable these individuals to be gainfully employed and become productive members of society.”

As the government aims to elevate English standards, Wong suggested that the government considered re-hiring retired English teachers trained in traditional and old-school methods.

She said offering additional incentives besides their existing pensions, and flexibility to implement certain aspects of English curriculum from abroad could entice them to return to teaching.

“This initiative not only supports the recruitment of senior citizens but also upholds their crucial role in improving Malaysia’s education standards,” she added. - June 13, 2024

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