Posted on June 10, 2012, Sunday
OVER TO YOU: NECIC president Datuk Dr Amar Singh (fourth right) hands over the memorandum to Mazlan (representing Muhyiddin) witnessed by state Social Welfare Department director Noriah Ahmad (left), co-chair of the local organising committee Datuk Kapitan Janet Lau (third right) and Sibu Divisional education officer Wong Chung Kung (second right) at the closing of the 4th National Early Childhood Intervention Conference.
SIBU: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday 10 to 15 per cent of children have some form of learning disability.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, added that this included conditions like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down’s Syndrome and dyslexia.
He assured that a memorandum on Inclusive Education would be given due consideration as a starting point to see children as children first.
“Learning disabilities have emerged as the largest challenge in the education of children with special needs. Even in some children with physical disability and those with intellectual impairment, special education remains a vital component of the support they need,” he said in conjunction with the closing of the 4th National Early Childhood Intervention Conference here.
His text-of-speech was read by the director of day school management division (Ministry of Education), Datuk Mazlan Mohamad.
The conference themed ‘Family-centred Practices – Early Childhood Intervention and Beyond’ started on Thursday and ended yesterday.
The official media are Utusan Borneo, The Borneo Post and See Hua Daily News.
More than 600 delegates from NGOs and government agencies throughout the country as well as over 50 international participants attended the conference.
Muhyiddin pointed out that the majority of children with autism, ADHD and dyslexia have a normal IQ and many can be educated in the main stream education nationwide.
NGOs, he said could play vital supportive role given that teachers were often at a loss on how to deal with children with special needs in a larger classroom environment.
“The Education Department is committed to meeting the education needs of all children with special needs. The Ministry of Education (MoE) is extending its services into the pre-school area and this plays a vital role in identifying and preparing children for school.
“There is also a need to inject passion and commitment into teachers educating children with special needs.”
He mentioned that the welfare of children with special needs had been relatively well taken care by the Social Welfare Department.
With the country moving forward towards full developed status, more efforts were needed to ensure the educational needs of these children were fully taken care of.
“As such, Malaysia had enacted the PWD (Persons with Disability) Act in 2008 as well as signed the UN convention on the Rights of PWD. MoE had long been involved with the education of children with special needs,” he noted.
He observed that early childhood education and care had taken big strides and improvement over the past few years.
Muhyiddin assured that the Memorandum on Inclusive Education as National Policy spearheaded by the NECIC and endorsed/supported by 60 NGOs nationwide would receive due consideration.