FOR the first time, Malaysia will host an International Special Education Exhibition 2019 (ISEE 2019) with the support of the Education Ministry.
It is to bring together leaders from both industry and academia to benefit and empower people with special needs.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik will open the four-day ISEE 2019 on Aug 29, that is set to create a benchmark for special needs education with the participation of various ministries, universities, exhibitors, sponsors, international and local researchers, speakers, caregivers, parents and people with special needs themselves.
ISEE 2019 is co-organised by the National Special Education Association (PPKK) and Special Education Association of Kuala Lumpur (PPKKL) in collaboration with Universiti Malaya (UM).
GR8 Dreams Sdn Bhd founder and managing director Datin Lorela Chia is the organising committee chairman.
Education Ministry Special Education Division director
Datuk Dr Yasmin Hussain said this year has been a big year where special education is concerned, adding that the ministry is supportive of the multi-disciplinary and multi-organisational international exhibition.
She said this was in line with the ministry’s “Zero Reject” Policy to ensure students with special needs get access to education that they need.
“The ISEE 2019 organising committee is working closely with my division to ensure the success of the exhibition to be held at Matrade Exhibition
and Convention Centre,” she added.
She said the ISEE 2019 will be a platform that gives due recognition to the role of Special Educational Needs (SEN), which will enable children with special needs to have access to an eco-system that enables them to pursue their education to the fullest so as to lead productive and meaningful lives.
As of January this year, 83,039 special needs children were registered in government schools nationwide.
Chia said the objective of the event is to increase the intake of special needs children enrolling in special education, the quality of special needs graduates and the quantity of industry-ready and interested graduates.
Their aim, she added, is to have the enrolment of 100,000 special education students and 20,000 sustainable careers by 2025.
Among others, there will be international and local plenary speakers comprising researchers, academicians and scholars who will talk in inclusive classroom settings, poster presentations, forums for parents, carers, and teachers, a silent movie as well as the presence of inspiring personalities such as para athletes, celebrities and entrepreneurs.
“We will also have a data centre in partnership with National Welfare Department to register people with special needs and disabilities; a scholarship centre together with the Asean University Network to create awareness on the availability of scholarships to pursue higher education; a rehabilitation centre together with UM’s Faculty of Medicine and a career centre with Job Malaysia,” said Chia.
There are many other activities in the pipeline, which will be disclosed closer to the event.
Chia said exhibitors and sponsors should take advantage of the event to showcase their exciting products to attendees, mainly those with, handling or caring for special needs and disabled persons.
PPKK president Prof Datuk Dr Sufean Hussin said he was happy that the ministry is ensuring all children, including those with special educational needs, have a right to an education which is appropriate to their needs.
The Zero Reject Policy, he added, upholds the statutory rights of special needs children to pursue good quality education in all government and government-aided schools.
“I must stress that the ISEE 2019 will work together with the ministry to create awareness on its vision and mission for the special needs children and those with disabilities besides being an ideal platform to bring world renowned researchers and experts in the field of special needs to share their expertise and experiences,” he said.
PPKKL president Datuk Badruddin Abu Bakar said children with disabilities are often marginalised within or even excluded from school systems.
“I am happy that in Malaysia, the government aims to make education inclusive and of good quality for children with special needs,” he added.
He said it is now the responsibility of the parents to register their children online at the ministry’s website so as to be accepted into the special needs programmes.
He hoped that local companies will also come forward to support the event.