Support for students with SEN and mental health conditions in Polytechnics

Published Date: 19 November 2018 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Associate Professor Daniel Goh Pei Siong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) what are the care resources available to students with special needs and mental health conditions in the polytechnics; and (b) whether there is enough continuity in support for students with such needs and conditions going from secondary schools to the polytechnics.

Response

1. All polytechnics have a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support Office. The office provides funding support for students to purchase the necessary Assistive Technology devices, such as motorised wheel chairs, and support services, such as note-taking services for students with Hearing Impairment. They also collaborate with Voluntary Welfare Organisations for internship placements and job matching for students, and conduct training for faculty and staff to raise awareness of SEN and build an inclusive campus culture.

2. Polytechnics have put in place appropriate measures to support their students. With parental consent, MOE passes on SEN-related information of secondary school graduands to the receiving polytechnic to facilitate their transition into a new learning environment. They will advise students with SEN and match them to courses that would be suitable for their learning needs. Some polytechnics also organise special orientation programmes for students with SEN.

3. As for mental wellness, polytechnic students are older and may seek help differently from those in secondary schools. The polytechnics equip their students with basic knowledge of mental wellness through curricular and co-curricular programmes. Peer support programmes are also in place to equip student volunteers with active listening and other skills to identify distress signs in their peers. Para-counsellors, or academic staff who have undergone the necessary training, will provide the first-level of support to students. Students who require more help can turn to the professional counsellors in the polytechnics.

4. The polytechnics also partner external agencies like the Community Health Assessment Team which provides online counselling service. In addition, the Singapore Association of Mental Health also supports the polytechnics with referrals and case management.

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