JOHOR BARU: A group of more than 500 children with special needs have earned themselves a place in the Malaysia Book of Records in an art exhibition held here.
The children from Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan and nine other schools around Johor achieved the recognition for “the most participation of disabled students in using the open masking technique”.
The exhibition was part of the polytechnic’s Art Beat Festival 2018.
Its director Rashidah Mustapa said the festival was aimed at exposing the public to the creativity, uniqueness and talent of special needs students across the state which had often gone unnoticed.
“We want the public to see for themselves the potential of special needs students and that they can do well in any field they choose to undertake.
“Other activities that highlight the creative potential of students include a fashion show, art production workshops and a number of creative competitions,” she said, adding that these activities were also participated by other students of the polytechnic.
She added that entrepreneurship was one of the main elements highlighted at the festival, as it was a skill that could help special needs students be more independent.
Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, who was present at the event, said polytechnics played a vital role in ensuring special needs students receive the necessary skills and trainings to support themselves.
“Malaysia is expected to increase education enrolment by 1.1mil by the year 2025, and the focus will be on Technical and Vocational Education (TVET).
“As the largest provider of TVET, polytechnics have a huge responsibility to fulfil,” she said.
She added that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) reported that at least 90% of special needs students from developing countries did not have access to education.
“Promoting TVET will provide more opportunities for special needs students to receive education,” she said before launching the festival.
Also present was Higher Education Ministry Polytechnic Education director-general Prof Dr Mohd Ismail Abd Aziz.