Promoting inclusivity in education: Singapore still has some way to go, says MP Rahayu Mahzam
SINGAPORE: Great strides have been made in encouraging and promoting inclusiveness in the community, but Singapore still has “some way to go in truly walking the talk”, Member of Parliament Rahayu Mahzam said on Wednesday (Jul 11).
“Our society is not yet able to truly view persons with disabilities as an equally valued member of the community,” she said as she recounted a radio talk show she heard.
A caller to the show felt that parents of children with special needs are in denial and want to believe that their children are normal, so they insist that their children be in mainstream schools when they actually should be taught elsewhere.
Ms Rahayu had earlier revealed that her son Ayden, who was born in April 2017 has Down’s Syndrome.
“I CRIED MY EYES OUT THAT AFTERNOON”
Hearing the caller’s comment, she said it felt that children like her son “will always be seen as a burden, that they should be put in appropriate places”.
“Honestly, I understood where the gentleman was coming from,” Ms Rahayu said. “The challenges faced by teachers in such settings are real and we need to deal with these challenges.”
“But the caller’s solution to the problem offended and hurt me as a parent. His tone and the curt manner in which he declared his views reflected how he felt about children who are different.
“To me it felt like a rejection,” she said.
“I cried my eyes out that afternoon,” added Ms Rahayu.
She was speaking on a motion titled “Education for Our Future”, moved by five Nominated MPs. The motion calls on the Government to partner with the people to ensure accessible, inclusive and lifelong education for all learners.
“I believe that we can review and build our education system so as to change perceptions, normalise disabilities, so that people can appreciate that persons with special needs are simply differently abled and are of no lesser value than any other member of society,” Ms Rahayu said.