The 20 year old, young Singaporean, who has just completed his National Service and is waiting to begin University, Mr WEE Yeong Wei recently stated that children with special needs should be excluded from compulsory education.
Role of Voluntary Welfare Organizations
The Asian Women’s Welfare Association took an initiative about 11 years ago to set up the Joint Committee for Compulsory Education for all. Almost all voluntary welfare organizations that ran schools for children with special needs, participated in the project, with the exception of only one organization that did not participate.
A comprehensive survey was conducted, according to which a clear majority of parents wanted their disabled children to be a part of compulsory education. This committee, later presented its report in 2004 to Tharman Shanmugaratnam, The Education Minister, but there has been no progress ever since.
Yet, Singapore is signatory to United Nation Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities that ensures their right education.
People with Disabilities Have Extraordinary Talents
Irrespective of numerous setbacks, people with disabilities have proved their extraordinary talents time and again. They have not only excelled vocationally but academically as well. Even in sports, the athletes with disabilities have brought laurels and honor to the country.
Although, it is expensive to teach children with disabilities, as their classes have to be smaller and they need individual attention. But, this certainly does not mean that their parents and they should ever be treated like outcasts. They are also Singaporeans and they have full right to quality education.
Provided they get the right start in appropriate schools, they’re certainly going to be less of a burden than this country makes them to be. Volunteer Welfare Organizations would be extremely happy to continue running their services for children with special needs, on the behalf of Ministry of Education.