Increasing Government funding for Special Education (SPED) schools

Published Date: 11 February 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Ong Teng Koon, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry will consider increasing Government funding for Special Education (SPED) schools in order to expand the means test criteria for the scheme so as to help families cope with the educational expenses of raising children with special needs.

Response

1. Government funds Special Education (SPED) schools at significantly higher levels than the mainstream schools, so that they can meet the different and unique learning needs of their students. MOE also reviews funding for our SPED schools regularly with NCSS, taking into account manpower costs and the requirements of different special educational needs.

2. Over the last few years, overall government funding for SPED schools have increased steadily, as funding per student is raised and more students are diagnosed with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Today, Government subsidises a substantial proportion of the cost of educating a student with SEN.

3. Notwithstanding, the cost burden to lower income Singaporeans with children with SEN is still significant. To support them, we have a SPED Financial Assistance Scheme, which covers school fees, textbooks, uniforms and transport subsidies. Students on the scheme SPED FAS also qualify for the School Meals Programme, which subsidises the cost of meals in school. We had revised the income eligibility criteria for the scheme in 2018 so that more low income families would benefit. Schools are also provided funds to exercise discretion and extend support to those who some reason do not meet the eligibility criteria for SPED FAS.

4. The Government will continue to work closely with the parent Volunteer Welfare Organisations (VWOs) running our SPED schools, to ensure that cost is not an impediment to access SPED schools.

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