Preschools for special children welcomed

Email Print 02 October 2012 | last updated at 12:13AM
By HASHINI KAVISTHRI KANNAN | hashini@nst.com.my 0 comments

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PILOT PROJECT: Government urged to provide qualified teachers for Taska OKU

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KUALA LUMPUR: THE government’s move to create better education opportunities and encourage the disabled towards self-sufficiency was realised with the introduction of Taska OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) in the 2013 Budget.
Malaysian Council for Child Welfare vice-president Datuk Dr Raj Abdul Karim was gratified when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the setting up of preschools for mentally and physically challenged children, starting next year.
“This effort is welcomed by all, especially those from the special needs community,” she said.
Najib, who is also finance minister, had announced in the Budget last Friday that the government would implement a pilot project called Taska OKU for six categories of disability — Down’s syndrome, autism, blind or partially sighted, hearing and speaking disabilities, physical disability and learning difficulties.
Dr Raj said the effort must also look into a special teaching syllabus for various disabilities.
“The Education Ministry must also work hand in hand with the Health Ministry to produce qualified teachers who can attend to the needs of the children.
“Therefore, there should be adequate capacity building, monitoring and training for these teachers.”
National Parent-Teacher Association president Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan said these kindergartens should also be built in rural areas.
“The urban dwellers already have many facilities. The ones who are always left out of development are the people in the rural areas.”
He said this effort would give the disabled a new lease of life, becoming productive individuals to aid the country’s growth.
Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Federal Territory president Murugeswaran Veerasamy said special needs children would be an asset to the country if they were given the right guidance and encouragement.
“A kindergarten for disabled children is definitely a start for them to reach greater heights and the government’s acknowledgement of this is lauded.”
Murugeswaran said education was the only way for these children to build a brighter future for themselves in this challenging world.
“I hope the government will also look into extending this effort to the primary, secondary and tertiary level for these students.”

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Read more: Preschools for special children welcomed – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/preschools-for-special-children-welcomed-1.151320#ixzz286bQiXde

Prioritise special needs students in Education Blueprint — Council

Posted on September 28, 2012, Friday

KUCHING: The National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC) is urging the Ministry of Education (MOE) to prioritise teacher training for students with special needs (SNS) to improve the quality of teaching under the final version of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB).
The council also took the MOE to task for not taking a more inclusive and comprehensive stand on special needs.
“Not only has very little attention been given to this group, the attention is superficial in comparison to the meticulous analysis and documentation in other parts of the blueprint. Worse, the actions suggested for this group go against the principles of Best Practice and Inclusive Education,” noted the council in a press statement.
“The blueprint acknowledges that SSN makes up an estimated 10 per cent of every cohort. But, in fact, it is generally accepted that if a broad spectrum of learning difficulties is included, the proportion of students needing specialised teaching and attention may be as high as 15 to 20 per cent.
“For a 268-page document with 91,800 words, outlining the nation’s educational direction over the next two decades, only a mere 1,070 words (spanning three pages) is devoted to SSN. One wonders how a national blueprint could fail to provide due attention to such a significant proportion of Malaysian students,” said the council.
The council also highlighted the discrepancy between key weaknesses identified in the blueprint and the recommendations for the first wave of action for improvements in education for special needs which did not address those weaknesses.
“An Inclusive Education seeks to bring SSN, except for the severely disabled, into mainstream education through Individual Education Plans implemented by well-trained teachers and professionals, not segregate them by different levels of ‘competency’.
“It calls for teachers to be creative and classroom practice to be flexible so that SSN can learn together with their peers. Accepting students of diverse abilities in the same classroom has been proven to bring benefits to all students. It is the mark of a progressive, humane and high quality education system,” said the statement.
The council said it supports the blueprint’s statement on Best Practice in Education, which calls for immediate action in improvements in skills, training and quality of teachers; working closely with families; and building partnerships with relevant local organisations for mainstream education.
However, it urged the government to address education for SSN with “at least equal urgency” as that of their more-abled peers by immediately implementing those improvements for special needs students under Wave 1, instead of Wave 2 (2016 to 2020).
The statement suggested that along with Wave 1, the MOE should work with families of SSN and collaborate with NGOs already familiar with the education of SSN immediately and with minimal costs.
“We take this opportunity to reiterate our willingness to engage in discussions and to provide whatever support we can in the move to transform education for SSN in Malaysia to meet the highest international standards in the coming two decades.
“No child must be left behind, but just saying this does not make it happen. We say again that the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. The council would like to advocate for our best teachers (and the education system) to support our weakest children so that as a nation, we can all move forward without leaving any behind,” concluded the statement.
Last April, the NECIC submitted a Memorandum on Inclusive Education as National Policy for Children with Special Needs to the MOE, which was written by the council and supported by over 60 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) nationwide.
Amongst others, the memorandum contained a long list of suggestions and recommendations for long-term actions towards improving education of SSN.
The council has yet to receive any response from the ministry.
The council is a registered coalition of parents, therapists and professionals from NGOs and government agencies advocating for children with special needs.

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Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/09/28/prioritise-special-needs-students-in-education-blueprint-council/#ixzz27lbb3Nd1

Karnival Pendidikan Khas meriah

2012/09/27 – 06:10:12 AM Cetak Emel Kawan
http://www.bharian.com.my/bharian/articles/KarnivalUsahawanPendidikanKhasmeriah/Article

Raja Nong Chik (dua dari kanan) bersama Pengarah Pelajaran Wilayah Persekutuan, Abdullah Md Yunus (kanan) melawat Karnival Usahawan Pendidikan Khas 2012 di Astana Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, semalam. – Foto Chan Wai Yew
Kuala Lumpur: Lebih 5,000 pengunjung termasuk pelajar kurang upaya memeriahkan Karnival Usahawan Pendidikan Khas 2012 yang berlangsung di sini, semalam.

Karnival anjuran Jabatan Pelajaran Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (JPNWPKL) dengan kerjasama Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) itu bertujuan memberi pendedahan awal asas keusahawanan kepada pelajar. Sebanyak 104 sekolah pendidikan khas (rendah dan menengah) sekitar Kuala Lumpur menyertai karnival berkenaan dengan menyaksikan pelajar menjual pelbagai jenis makanan, minuman, pakaian dan cenderahati.
Antara sekolah menjayakan karnival berkenaan adalah Sekolah Kebangsaan Wangsa Maju Seksyen 2, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Salak South dan Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (T) Jalan Fletcher.

Turut serta Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sinar Bintang, SMK Batu Muda, SMK Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

Perasmian karnival disempurnakan Menteri Wilayah Persekutuan dan Kesejahteraan Bandar, Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin. Hadir sama Ketua Sektor Pendidikan Khas dan Swasta JPNWPKL, Nor Laila Lambak.

Tingkat keyakinan pelajar kurang upaya
Nong Chik berkata, karnival berkenaan mampu meningkatkan keyakinan pelajar kurang upaya untuk berinteraksi dengan orang ramai, selain berpeluang menunjukkan kreativiti mereka melalui perniagaan.

“Karnival ini secara tidak langsung membuat masyarakat lebih peka terhadap perkembangan aktiviti pendidikan khas dan pembabitan mereka sebagai usahawan baru,” katanya kepada sidang media selepas perasmian karnival itu, semalam.

Sementara itu, Ketua Unit Pendidikan Khas JPNWPKL, Sauki Yusoff berkata, pihaknya adalah satu-satunya Jabatan Pelajaran di negara ini yang menganjurkan program membabitkan sekolah pendidikan khas itu.

“Kami berharap karnival seperti ini dapat menjadi ikutan kepada sekolah pendidikan khas di negeri lain dalam menyediakan peluang kepada mereka mempamerkan bakat keusahawanan,” katanya.

When touching matters

Sunday September 9, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/9/9/education/11984968&sec=education
BY KAREN CHAPMAN
educate@thestar.com.my

TOUCHING is an important communication tool for the deaf. This is because deaf people communicate by “touching”. When they want to get your attention, they tap on your shoulders or hug.

Freelance sign language interpreter Lucy Lim said “it is important for them to know if a touch is appropriate or not”.

“As such, sometimes deaf kids are confused as to whether it is a ‘safe touch’. We teach them to rely on their instincts. For example, if a touch were to give them goosebumps, then it could be an inappropriate gesture,” she added.

There have been various news reports in the past on cases where deaf children and teenagers have been molested or raped. The reasons may be because many deaf children and teens may not know that they have been sexually abused or touched in an improper manner.

Lim says it is important for children to know if a touch is appropriate or not.
Lim said some deaf adults got together to form a group known as Deaf Against Child Sexual Abuse (Dasca) several years ago.

“We conduct workshops on a regular basis for deaf teens and children in primary schools. In addition, we also hold talks for parents with deaf children,” she said.

Sign linguist Ho Koon Wei said Dasca was formed to educate deaf students and empower them by sharing information about their own bodies, teaching communication skills and providing understanding about sexuality abuse.

Depending on the age group of the children involved, administrative executive Jessica Mak said the workshops would inform and teach them about changes in their bodies as they approach puberty, and dealing with relationships and safety concerns.

Ho who is deaf, said: “We use visual aids such as pictorial materials, role play, group discussions and video clips.”

The workshops are usually held over three or four days and have been carried out in Johor, Penang, Sarawak, Sabah, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, she added.

Empower ing stu den ts: Informing and teaching her charges about changes in their bodies is among the topics that Mak (middle) discusses at the workshops.
Mak who is also deaf, said most of the activities were hands-on. The Dacsa team developed and customised the curriculum to accommodate the needs of the deaf. There are group discussions and role play which are carried out by deaf leaders themselves.

The team also works with teachers for the deaf and other relevant organisations.

Ho said it is important to empower them by sharing information about their own body, teaching communication and decision-making skills.

“We want them to know the simple rule ‘No, Run and Tell’ which is to say ‘no’ to those who touch them inappropriately and then seek help by running and telling someone they know or trust,” she said.

“They are also taught to identify persons whom they trust, and asked to memorise their telephone numbers,” added Ho who said that children need to know the proper signs so that they could relate the correct information.

Lim said that the team produced a book entitled Signs for Sexuality sponsored by the Malaysian Coalition for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

Deaf children, she said, often remained silent when they were sexually abused.

“Usually it is difficult for deaf kids to reveal the truth as their perpetrators could be people they know. In addition, most parents are not fluent in sign language and as such, they are not quick enough to grasp what their kids want to express.

“Some deaf kids also do not have sufficient sign vocabulary to describe the incidents,” she added.

According to Lim, the feedback overall had been positive as parents said the workshops made the children more confident and taught them how to keep themselves safe.

For more information on the workshops, e-mail
lucylim64@gmail.com.

Consider needs of children requiring special education, ministry told

Posted on September 7, 2012, Friday

SIBU: The National Early Childhood Intervention Council (Necic) is urging the Education Ministry to consider the needs of children who require special education.

In an emailed press statement, Necic said it was grateful to the ministry for requesting feedback from the public and organisations on the needs and services to be provided to children.

However, with many pressing issues for education reform, from syllabus to homework volume and unhealthy focus on examinations, Necic wants to bring to the attention of the ministry and the public the large proportion of children with special needs.

Based on data and experiences, the gap between normal children and children with special needs starts when they enter Primary 1, the statement said.

It added: “If children who reach primary school going-age (6-year-olds) are not ‘school-ready’, they would enter school with problems and are difficult for schools and teachers to handle.

“The gap then continues to widen as they grow.”

Basically, children can be divided into three groups in terms of their education ability and needs, according to the statement, which also stated that 70 to 80 per cent of children are in the first group.

“They have most of their educational resources in the country for they do not have great difficulties in learning.

“Three to five per cent of the children have a major disability and are identified early by health professionals, usually at birth or before the age of five.

“This group requires special education. Generally, there is some provision for them in the education system, although the quality and distribution (access) of the services is questionable.”

The statement said 15 to 20 per cent of children had more subtle problems.

“They have milder disabilities or problems of specific learning disorders, such as Dyslexia, high functioning Autism, ADHD, emotional problems and environmental deprivation.

“They have normal intelligence but with many barriers to education, often known to have behaviour problems, poor school performance, school failure and so forth.

“Thus, Necic believes that it is important to recognise the third group, in which the current education programme has failed to do so.

“Necic believes that the problem occurs in the system and the Key Performance Index (KPI) than with the children.”

Necic found it inappropriate that the system allowed these children to fall into disabled children category when they failed to meet the criteria as required in the mainstream education system.

Necic also urged the ministry to emulate the models or ideas from other countries to include all children within mainstream education instead of segregating them to disability syllabus.

The statement said among the ideas to be adopted are recruiting the best students to become teachers, providing the best teachers for the most educationally challenged children, offering better school environments for these children through smaller classes in mainstream education and recognising that they have special needs.

Necic is a registered coalition of parents, therapists and professionals from NGOs and government agencies.

It is involved in and advocates early childhood intervention as a right and is keen to optimise the learning and development of children with special needs.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/09/07/consider-needs-of-children-requiring-special-education-ministry-told/#ixzz25kApUXVH

EDUCATION: Don’t ignore the needs of disabled

Thursday, September 06, 2012

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Education Ministry have repeatedly invited public feedback on the revision of our education system. We value these requests and many of us have responded.

The National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC), a registered coalition of parents, therapists and professionals from a large variety of non-governmental organisations and government agencies advocating the needs of children with special needs, sent a memorandum to the ministry more than four months ago.

The memorandum advocates inclusive education as a national policy as research has proven that this will benefit all students, not just those with special needs.

Malaysia has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Article 24 of the convention stipulates that “persons with disabilities shall not be excluded from the general education system on the basis of disabilities”.

This has also been enacted in Clause 28 of the Malaysian Persons with Disabilities Act 2008.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that the ministry officials have considered its contents.

We suspect this may also be the case with others who have forwarded suggestions on improving our education system.

An important issue, such as the revision of our education system, should not be carried out behind closed doors and then presented to the public as a completed package.

It is essential that there is meaningful on-going dialogue, with opportunities for change, involvement, critical review, and holistic challenge.

Too many of our recent initiatives have been flawed because of a lack of a meaningful dialogue.

Preliminary plans should be provided to the public and concerned organisations for critical review and opportunities for change before they are implemented as law.

The NECIC, on behalf of children with disabilities and their parents, appeals to the ministry to listen and respond to feedback from the public on the education system.

In this 55th year of our independence as a nation, the new education system must liberate and empower our children, including those who are disabled, to be who they truly can be and not hinder their growth.

 

Datuk Dr Amar Singh (president), Khor Ai-Na (vice-president) and Dr Tan Liok Ee (committee member), National Early Childhood Intervention Council, Kuala Lumpur

Read more: EDUCATION: Don’t ignore the needs of disabled – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-don-t-ignore-the-needs-of-disabled-1.137863#ixzz25k8QYFZi

Education for all – disabled or otherwise

Wednesday September 5, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/5/focus/11968446&sec=focus

OUR Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Education Ministry have repeatedly invited public feedback on the revision of our education system.

We value this request and many of us have responded.

The National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC), a registered coalition of parents, therapists and professionals from a large variety of NGOs and government agencies advocating for children with special needs, has written a memorandum with 60 other NGOs and presented it to the Education Ministry and minister more than four months ago.

The memorandum strongly advocates for inclusive education as national policy as research has proven that inclusive education benefits all students, not just those with special needs.

Malaysia has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Article 24 of the UN Convention stipulates that “persons with disabilities shall not be excluded from the general education system on the basis of disabilities”.

This has also been enacted in Clause 28 of the Malaysian Persons with Disabilities Act 2008.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that the Education Minister or Education Ministry officials have considered its contents.

We suspect this may also be the case with others who have forwarded suggestions on improving our education system.

An important issue, such as the revision of our education system, should not be carried out behind closed doors and then presented to the public as a completed package to be implemented for our children.

It is essential that there is meaningful on-going dialogue, with opportunities for change, involvement, critical review, and holistic challenge.

Too many of our recent initiatives have been flawed because of a lack of meaningful dialogue.

Preliminary plans should be provided to the public and concerned organisations for critical review and opportunities for change before they are implemented as law.

The NECIC, on behalf of children with disabilities and their parents, appeals to the Education Ministry to listen and respond to feedback from the public on the education system.

In this 55th year of our independence as a nation, may the new education system liberate and empower our children, including those who are disabled, to be who they truly can be and not hinder their growth.

DATUK DR AMAR SINGH (President)

KHOR AI-NA (Vice-President)

DR TAN LIOK EE (Committee)

National Early Childhood Intervention

Council