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Young persons with disabilities

Published Date: 02 September 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Chong Kee Hiong, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC


To ask the Minister for Education regarding the education of young persons with disabilities (PwDs) (a) what is the current percentage of PwDs in special schools and normal schools respectively; (b) whether there has been any changes in the proportion of PwDs among our young in the last 10 years; and (c) what are the programmes to integrate young PwDs with other students in their communities.


1. MOE takes a broader definition of students with Special Educational Needs (SEN). It includes students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or with Autism, physical and sensory impairment, who are enrolled in mainstream schools or study in Special Education (SPED) schools like Pathlight using the national curriculum. Those with moderate-to-severe SEN are enrolled in specialised SPED schools, with more assistance and customised teaching and learning approaches.

2. As at Dec 2018, there were about 32,000 students with reported SEN, with 80% in mainstream schools and 20% in SPED schools. The proportion of students with SEN has increased from about 5% in 2014 to 7% in 2018. The rise in students with SEN is a worldwide trend. Part of this is due to increased awareness and reporting, and better identification by hospitals and schools.

3. Mainstream schools educate students on inclusivity through classroom lessons, as well as school-based programmes that build up peer support. Through these, schools emphasise the importance of values such as respect and care for others, and promote empathy and acceptance of differences. But it is not without challenges and the system is still improving.

4. SPED schools have established partnerships with mainstream schools to provide social mixing opportunities between the students. An example is the combined community service and co-curricular programmes for students of Bowen Secondary School and AWWA School.

5. MOE, schools and partner organisations also work together to promote inclusivity in the arts and sports. For example, the Play Inclusive programme brought together student-athletes from several SPED and mainstream schools to share sports experiences. SPED students also participate in the National School Games, the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation and the National Day Parade.