SINGAPORE – Educators in mainstream schools will be better equipped to support students with special educational needs (SEN).
From July this year, all teachers will get access to bite-sized online learning modules that will help them expand their repertoire of teaching and support strategies to cater to students with special needs, said Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah on Wednesday (March 4) during the debate on her ministry’s budget.
Around 80 per cent of students with special needs are taught in mainstream schools, while the remaining 20 per cent with higher needs go to Special Education (Sped) schools, she said.
The Ministry of Education’s funding for Sped schools has increased by about 40 per cent in the last five years, but “we can and will do more”, said Ms Indranee.
Since January this year, six Sped schools have lowered their fees by at least 25 per cent for Singaporeans.
Three new Sped schools will also be opened, Ms Indranee added.
One will support students with moderate-to-severe special needs who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability, and the other two will be for students with moderate special needs who have ASD and can access the national curriculum.
The MOE is also recruiting more allied educators (learning and behavioural support) to meet needs.
These are non-teaching staff who play a role in developing children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and helping them integrate into mainstream schools through counselling and guidance.
Since July last year, the number of training places for such allied educators increased from 60 to 600 per year.
Currently, there are about 2,000 allied educators, with some 600 specialising in learning and behavioural support across primary and secondary schools.
Other kinds of allied educators include school counsellors, outdoor adventure educators and student welfare officers.