Three new special education schools to open for students with autism to meet growing demand
SINGAPORE: Three new schools for students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will be set up over the next few years, with the first one accepting pupils in 2021, Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah announced on Friday (Nov 8).
Acknowledging the growing demand for places in such schools Ms Indranee said the new schools will help to improve the accessibility of special education and ensure all children with moderate-to-severe special education needs will be able to receive a quality education.
Speaking at the ExtraOrdinary Celebration Concert on Friday, she said: “Even as we celebrate our progress, we must never stop trying to improve our system, so that our children can learn in educational settings that cater to their needs, and grow up in a society where everyone can thrive.”
The first school, operated by Metta Welfare Association, will provide about 25 places per cohort. This translates to about 300 places for students between 7 and 18 years old with moderate-to-severe special education needs with both ASD and intellectual disabilities.
The new school’s campus, which will be located in the east of Singapore, will be ready in 2024. Until then, students will have lessons at the current Metta School campus in Simei starting in 2021.
The other two schools will deliver the primary and secondary national curriculum as well as a suitable post-primary programme for students who are unable to access the national secondary curriculum, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a separate media release.
One of these schools will be a new Pathlight School campus, which will be run by the Autism Resource Centre (ARC), said Ms Indranee. This will be Pathlight’s third campus, with the first in Ang Mo Kio, and the second one in Tampines announced earlier this year.
For the other school, MOE will conduct a limited invitation for proposals, similar to what was done for the school to be set up by Metta Welfare Association.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SCHOOLS TO LOWER FEES
Six special education (SPED) schools will also lower their fees by at least 25 per cent for Singapore citizens from January 2020, said Ms Indranee.