6 August 2018
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether there are education institutions in Singapore for special needs youths of age 18 and above and, if not, whether there are plans to set up such an institution; and (b) for those special needs youths who cannot find employment at that age, what options are available to them.
1 Students with special educational needs (SEN) who graduate from mainstream secondary schools and Special Education (SPED) schools may apply for enrolment into Post-Secondary Education Institutions (PSEIs) (i.e. junior colleges and centralised institutes, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education [ITE]) or specialised vocational training schools for further studies or vocational training.
2 Most of the students with a SEN diagnosis in mainstream schools, similar to their schoolmates, advance to the PSEIs every year. For those in SPED schools, a smaller proportion move to the PSEIs, given their need for more specialised and intensive support.
3 Since 2014, SEN Support Offices have been set up in all polytechnics, ITE colleges, Autonomous Universities and arts institutions. These offices serve as a first-stop support unit for students to provide course counselling and access arrangements for students with SEN. They also administer funding support for students with physical or sensory impairment to purchase Assistive Technology devices and support services. The SEN Support Offices also collaborate with Voluntary Welfare Organisations to provide external support for students with SEN, such as internship placements and job matching. MOE will continue to work with the PSEIs and agencies such as SG Enable, to ensure that students receive sufficient support to continue with education and prepare for future employment.
4 For students with moderate to severe SEN, two schools, Metta School and Delta Senior School, offer vocational training leading to nationally-accredited certifications for students up to 21 years old. Each year, about 120 students with Intellectual Disability graduate with vocational certifications in a range of industry areas. These schools continually update their vocational programmes so that SPED students of diverse disabilities can be better prepared for employment.
5 For SPED students who may not benefit from vocational certification but are capable of work, SG Enable works with SPED schools to support their transition into employment under the School-to-Work (S2W) Transition Programme. Students on the programme receive customised job training with job support from Job Coaches for up to one year post graduation to prepare them for eventual employment. About 30 students each year with diverse disabilities have benefitted from the S2W Transition Programme. The programme will be rolled out to all SPED schools serving secondary-level students by 2019.
6 Other SPED students with heavier care needs may require closer supervision in their daily lives. They can be admitted into Sheltered Workshops or Day Activity Centres, depending on the level of care support required. Sheltered Workshops allows Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to be engaged in completing straightforward tasks that are part of a simplified work process. Day Activity Centres provide long-term care services and equip PwDs with skills so that they can live as independently as possible within their homes and community. These centres provide therapeutic and behavioural intervention, training in interpersonal and community living skills, and support in activities of daily living.