Archive for the ‘Inclusive Education’ Category

Being Poor Should Not Prevent One From Obtaining Education – Lam Thye

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

JOHOR BAHRU, Jan 8 (Bernama) — The people should not use the excuse of lack of funds to prevent their children from getting an education, said Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

This was because the foundation which was set up in May 2014 had spent RM5 million a year to assist students from poor families, he said.

He said the foundation had forged cooperation with the Education Ministry to identify students who were eligible and excellent in their studies and would continue to assist them up to the level of higher education.

“Education is a most important tool for children in the world, and it is the only investment that can truly change their fate,” he told reporters after attending an Excellent Award Ceremony for Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) 2016 Yayasan Eco World, here last night.

“We set up the foundation in May 2014, and to date we have assisted more than 3,000 students from poor families,” Lee said.


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Crucial to understand needs of young people — British High Commissioner.

Friday, December 11th, 2015

KOTA KINABALU: Mindful of the fact that youths play an important role in determining the future of a nation, not only has she made young people’s agenda an area of personal interest, but it was also part of British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell’s strategy engagement here in Malaysia.

And one of the programmes that reflect the high commission’s commitment to this particular agenda is the organising and hosting of a filmmaking programme, featuring local youths presenting films focusing on issues that concern them and their community.

“They (the youths) will be the inheritors of the decisions that are made today by those currently in power, whether in organisations or the government. Hence, it is very important to understand what young people feel, what their ambitions are, where they want to go, what they want to achieve.

“Lights, Camera, Youth, Action, where three young people will be presenting their films and those films will contain themes, about issues, that are close to them, that matter to them, that concern them,” she said in a press conference at the Sabah Art Gallery here yesterday, where the films were being screened.

‘Lights, Camera, Youth, Action!’ was a programme celebrating proactive youth, community empowerment and local filmmaking, organised by the British High Commission as part of its youth engagement programme called the Successor Generation Initiative (SGI), which was launched earlier this year.

Three groups of community filmmakers from Sabah screened short films highlighting community issues and climate change concerns.

This set the scene for a dialogue where youth participants shared their views on the topics concerned, moderated by Adrian Lasimbang, an Orang Asal rights activist and renewable energy developer and practitioner.

Melissa Leong, festival director of the Borneo Eco Film Festival, (BEFF) also gave a short talk on community filmmaking.

The first film screened was ‘Mastal Arikik’, a film by the Wanita Pulau Omadal (WAPO), that tells a heart-warming tale of a young boy living on Omadal Island, who at a tender age is already helping to educate the island’s children by working as a teacher in a local primary school.

‘Kisah Budak Jalanan’ by the group Greens Semporna was filmed in Semporna, revealing the desperate circumstances faced by local stateless children who often have no opportunities to receive education, exist well below the poverty line, and turn to drugs from a very young age as a means of coping with their harsh realities.

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Of kids and inclusive learning

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

For all: Inclusive education supports the full participation of every child, with or without disabilities as equals. – File photo

For all: Inclusive education supports the full participation of every child, with or without disabilities as equals. – File photo

Children with special needs and capabilities must be nurtured and allowed to grow alongside their ‘normal’ peers at school for better outcomes.

I HAVE been motivated to write this article on special needs education, a topic that is close to my heart especially after attending an International Conference on University Learning and Teaching that I officiated at recently.

It was organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), with the co-operation of several local and foreign universities, including University of Herefordshire (UK) , University of South Australia (Australia) , University of Ohio (in the United States) and Taylor’s University (Malaysia).

Also, I have come away impressed with the positive outcomes of inclusive learning that have brought out the best in special needs students like Siti Nabilah Saiful Wong, 13, who was also named “Academic Icon 2014”.

I must point out that special needs education in the country is an area that has been given more importance in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

The Education Ministry offers three options under the National Special Needs Education system specifically for those with hearing, visual or learning disabilities.

They include:

• Five secondary schools, three vocational colleges and one school each for children with visual and hearing disabilities;

• Special education integrated programme which has a special class in 2,000 government or government-aided schools and

• Inclusive Education Programme (pupils with disabilities or special needs who are placed so that they can integrate with other students in mainstream classes).

I am focusing on inclusive education as the landscape of special education which involves multiple stakeholders including parents, NGOs, the Health Ministry, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry as well as the Human Resource Ministry and the mass media.


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All children deserve a chance

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Those with special needs must have access to mainstream schools, and inclusive mainstream schools are the best way to overcome discrimination.

LAST month was Autism Awareness Month and many events were organised by various groups to inform the public about autism. I attended quite a few events, but mostly in the Klang Valley.

Some of the media, including this newspaper, took part too. Various articles were published, and interviews broadcasted, to tell the public about autism.

All these are very good to see. I applaud everyone who took part in the initiative.

Without getting too technical, autism is a “spectrum disorder” which means the severity of symptoms ranges from a mild learning and social disability to severe impairment, with multiple problems and unusual behaviour.

The disorder may occur alone, or with accompanying problems such as mental retardation or seizures.

Autism is not a rare disorder.

Its cases are found throughout the world, in families of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.

Doctors, politicians and rubber tappers alike are known to have autistic children.

Looking back to when I was in primary school in Sekolah Kebangsaan Dato Ariffin Mohd Nam in Perlis, I think at least two to three of my schoolmates were actually autistic. But at that time, in early to mid 1980s, knowledge about autism was relatively lower.

And if you consider the fact that my primary school was in a rural area, halfway between Kangar and Padang Besar, I guess it is not surprising that the teachers were not yet well equipped to detect the condition.

Today, many things have changed. Parent and teacher awareness has increased tremendously. The government too has done a lot.

The successful International Seminar on Autism that was held in Putrajaya on April 22 – April 23 was just one example.

The Education Blueprint that guides the work of our Ministry of Education has a section dedicated to children with special needs.

It states a clear aim of making our schools inclusive.

The Blueprint acknowledges the 1994 Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education by saying that those with special needs must have access to mainstream schools and that mainstream schools with an inclusive orientation are the most effective means of overcoming discriminatory attitudes.

At Ideas, we too are trying to do our part. In early 2012, two friends, Mustaqeem Mahmood Radhi and Mohd Fakhri Noor Affandi, called me up suggesting we meet for some teh tarik.

by Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

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Special schools for the visually, aurally impaired students

Monday, March 10th, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: The Education department (JPN) has provided two special education schools for students with visual and hearing difficulties so far.

Its Director Datuk Jame Alip said that to date, there are a total of 70 special education integrated programme for primary schools and 52 for secondary schools throughout the state to cater the needs of special children education.

He was delivering his speech at JPN Gala Night which was launched by the Head of State wife, Toh Puan Hajah Norlidah Datuk R.M. Jasni at KDCA hall here, on Saturday.

He urged principals, headmaster, teachers and district education officers, parents and non-governmental organisation to work together to realise the aim to provide equal opportunities in education for the special students.

“The Education ministry is very concern towards the need of students with special needs especially education. In line with the Education Development Plan 2013-2025, the government will expand the education access to the students with special needs so that they receive equal rights in education,” he said.

Yesterday, the guests were presented with performances by special students such as singing and dancing. A special student from Tuaran, Mohd Amar Amirulamin Mat Zin who is visually impaired has won the second place for Tilawah Al-Quran, third place in memorising Al-Quran.

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Going the extra mile for special-needs kids

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The law is clear, a child with a disability must be allowed to attend school, yet many schools discriminate such children, or are reluctant to take them in for various reasons.

STARTING school for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience for parents and their children.

Parents are anxious if their child will fit in, while the fears a child may have about school can be just as intimidating.

They can be apprehensive about being separated from their parents, riding the school bus, meeting a new teacher or even making new friends.

Take Ibrahim* for instance, he was worried that his daughter Nurul who was about to start schooling would not adjust well to her new environment. He decided that he would go to the school and snap some photos of the school layout and the facilities available there.

He then compiled the pictures into a “social story” to explain and familiarise Nurul to the environment she was going to be in.

While the doting dad may seem to have gone overboard with his actions, there was a reason for him to do so — his daughter had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

People with autism spectrum disorder have a strong preference for routines and Ibrahim’s effort in repeatedly telling the “social story” was to prepare Nurul for her new school life.

A “social story” is a strategy developed by Carol Gray, an educational consultant and autism teaching expert. Her primary objective is to prepare individuals with the condition (autism) for social interactions through social instructions and expressions in a defined style and format.

Ibrahim had also explained to the school authorities of her condition. Since teachers were already informed, they went the extra mile in providing the necessary assistance and even roped in her classmates to help her out.

Now in Year Three, the girl doesn’t seem to have problems completing her homework and has been doing well in all her tests.

Like most of her peers, she gets help from tuition classes after school.

Ibrahim is grateful for the support he’s had from school authorities.

Being the adorable child she is, Nurul’s teachers and even the canteen assistants or mak chiks are always looking out for her. Even the school’s security guard keeps an eye on her as she waits for her father after school every day.

by Kang Soon Chen.

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Assessment for special needs kids

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

SPECIAL needs children will soon be categorised according to their levels of functionality before they enter Year One in mainstream schools.

Education Ministry Special Education Division director Bong Muk Shin said the assessment would place the children under three categories — low functioning, moderate functioning and high functioning.

“It’s not a problem for high-functioning children to study in mainstream classrooms.

“Those who are moderate-functioning will be placed in an integrated programme within a mainstream school while low-functioning children will have to go to special education classes,” he said when contacted recently.

He said the ministry was moving towards inclusive education where more children with special needs would be placed in mainstream classrooms.

“There is a need for parents, teachers, school heads and the public to change their mindset on children with special needs and special education,” said Bong when asked to comment on a case highlighted in a letter published in The Star recently.

In the letter, National Early Childhood Intervention Council president Datuk Dr Amar Singh H.S.S. highlighted the plight of a child with mild disability who was isolated from the other pupils in a mainstream classroom on the order of the school headmaster.

The child was doing very well in the same classroom in the first two terms before the isolation.

His grades plummeted in the third term as the headmaster had asked that the child be sent to special education classes and to sit at the back of the classroom.

Dr Amar claimed in the letter that the headmaster was concerned that the boy would bring down the performance of the school.

On the case of the boy, Bong urged the parents and the headmaster to discuss and find ways to provide the best education for him.

He declined to comment further on the case, saying that the ministry would investigate the matter and treat each complaint involving special needs children on a case by case basis.

Education deputy director-general Datuk Sufa’at Tumin, when contacted, said the ministry would get to the bottom of the matter.

by Kang Soon Chen.

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NGO aims to be ‘third force’ in addressing educational inequality

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Instead of being an armchair critic to the education system, independent programme Teach For The Needs (TFTN) decided to be the “third force” in addressing the issue.

TFTN executive director for policy and research Anas Alam Faizli said that the voluntarily-based programme aims to improve educational opportunities for orphans, underprivileged children and those from the “bottom tier”.

Speaking to The Star Online in a recent interview, he said TFTN gathered volunteers from all walks of life, from doctors to executives, who spent hours of their time educating these children for free.

“They include engineers, doctors, executives, professionals and university students. They are committed in what they do despite their full time job,” said Anas, whom himself is in an oil and gas industry.

Asked what made him to do something off his career track, he said he had always possessed a keen interest in tackling educational inequality.

“I believe education is the best instrument to alleviate the poor and balance the inequality gap.

“We do not want to reinvent the wheel. We are just trying to assist in what the Government or the private sector is not covering. We are like a third force NGO (non-governmental organisation),” he said.

Anas also said the educational gap in the country was worrying, as students were segregated as early as primary school.

“If you are smart, you go to a class A but if you are not, you go to a class Z. After a while, you will be surrounded by late bloomers who are left behind,” he said.

He said the same scenario occurred in secondary school, where most Form Three or Form Four students with difficulties in reading would eventually drop out from school.

“Those who drop out will form the lower tier of society and they are the ones who mostly cause social problems,” he said.


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How I learnt to cope with dyslexia

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

THE word “dyslexia” comes from Greek: “dys” meaning “bad, abnormal, difficult” and “lexis” meaning “word”.

Medically, dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that impairs one’s ability to read. In its subtle form, a dyslexic may have no apparent difficulty in reading but his spelling will be almost always defective.

I am dyslexic, though I coped well academically. I discovered I was dyslexic only at the age of 28 as I watched a psychologist testing a Grade 10 schoolgirl in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The simple words she had difficulty spelling, I too was uncertain about.

My education was somewhat unusual. I attended a Chinese-medium school for nine years, from Primary 1 to Secondary 4 (I skipped a year since I was given a double promotion from Primary 1 to Primary 3).


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Need to open all schools to persons with disabilities.

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Education must be made accessible to the disabled. In other words, if the disabled cannot come to school to attend classes, then it must be brought to them.

Young Voices founder Fariz A. Rani pointed this out during the question and answer session of the National Roadshow for Persons with Disability (OKU) held at Wisma Perkeso near here yesterday.

He opined that although opportunities were given to OKUs to fill up positions in the civil service, many will not be able to take advantage of the situation because they have not completed their secondary and tertiary education.

“In Sabah, there are many OKUs with this predicament. They have not even finished their UPSR, do how can they fill up the quota provided to them if they don’t have the necessary qualification?” he queried.

Fariz also said that it was wrong to group the OKUs and force them to follow the footsteps of their successful peers because every OKU has different types of disabilities.

“We cannot force all the OKUs to follow the footsteps of others who have succeeded. For some, attending school may not take so much effort, but what about our peers who are bedridden and want to continue their schooling? For them, going to school is not a 100 percent effort but instead, is a 200 percent effort or more.”

“I know of an OKU who has to be carried by her father to school everyday. But her dad laments that he can no longer do it because he is getting old … home-base education must be introduced for our peers who have problems travelling but have big dreams and ambitions,” he explained.

Fariz also stressed that all schools must be able to accept students with disabilities.

Education Department’s sector head in special education, Ahmad Sabari, said that the present education system only accepts students who are capable of caring for themselves.

“We need to amend this, but I have to say that it is also due to the lack of our capabilities,” he said.

Ahmad added that only 72 schools in Sabah were able to take in disabled students now and one of the newest updates in the provision of education for the disabled in the country was that now politechnics in the country have begun admitting students with hearing disabilities into their programmes.

At the same time, he also shared that six primary schools and six secondary schools in Sabah have constructed OKU friendly toilets for their disabled students.

“These are some of the efforts that have been introduced by the Education Department for our OKUs,” he said.