KUALA LUMPUR: Schools must accept all special needs students and prepare an individual education plan for every child, says Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
She said this was part of the ministry’s “zero reject” policy, which has been made compulsory starting this year.
“We want to improve the quality of our education system, so everyone must have equal access (to learning),” she said.
Teo said the need to tailor an individual plan for every student was also doable as Special Needs Integration Programme (PPKI) classes were limited to 10 students.
“We have always encouraged teachers to draw up individual plans, but now we’ve made it compulsory,” she said.
Teo said the ministry was working with Permata Kurnia, an NGO which provides education for autistic children, to design online training for the teachers.
“We believe there will be more special needs students in mainstream classrooms, so we must make sure that our teachers have the knowledge to assist them,” she said after visiting SK Taman Putra Perdana in Puchong yesterday to check on the implementation of the “zero reject” policy.
She said schools had also been advised on how to help special needs students, including conducting classes on the ground floor, allowing the students to use the teachers’ toilets and installing ramps and rails.
She added shortage of classrooms should not be a reason to turn the students away.
On SK Taman Putra Perdana, Teo said it was one of the schools that had successfully implemented the PPKI and Inclusive Education Programme (PPI).
As at December, a total of 38,000 special needs students were registered at 34 special education schools – 2,343 schools with PPKI and 6,202 schools with PPI.
Under the “zero reject” policy, state education departments and district education offices must approve the applications from all special needs students and ensure that schools are able to cater to their basic needs.
Schools without infrastructure for the disabled must take measures to accommodate their needs.