All government school teachers should acquire knowledge on dealing with special needs children, said Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
She said this would help sustain the ministry’s “Zero Reject Policy”, which was implemented at the beginning of the year. The policy ensures that all children in the country, including those with special needs and undocumented children, will have access to education.
“The ministry anticipates that more special needs children will enrol in government schools after the launch of the “Zero Reject Policy”.
“To ensure the policy’s success, we must make sure teachers – especially teachers in mainstream classes – have the knowledge to handle special needs children,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, after launching GENIUS@Kurnia’s Karnival Semarak Autisme (KSA) last Saturday.
GENIUS@Kurnia, formerly known as PERMATA Kurnia, was previously parked under the Prime Minister’s Office. It’s now an agency under the ministry’s purview.
KSA was held to boost awareness of autism, as well as to cultivate empathy, love, and care among the public towards autistic individuals and their families who put in tremendous effort to care for these special children.
In conjunction with KSA and Autism Awareness Month, GENIUS@Kurnia also launched the iKurnia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and an early intervention module – both designed by special education experts from the ministry.
Teo said the purpose of iKurnia MOOC was to prepare and assist teachers in getting the necessary knowledge about special needs children from a reliable platform.
“It is an online platform that provides useful information and exercises related to autism for educators to refer to.
“The early intervention module is aimed at parents, childcare providers, and kindergartens. It can help them identify differences or pick up on anything unusual among children under their care. This module is not meant for primary school teachers,” said Teo, who donned a white bunny ears headband to show her support for KSA.
She added that the module was in line with the ministry’s move to reposition GENIUS@Kurnia as a Centre of Excellence on early intervention in Malaysia.