Training and skilling of Persons with Disabilities in Schools

Published Date: 13 September 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) how are schools training and skilling individuals with disabilities during their formal education to enhance their employability in the job market; (b) whether the Ministry tracks the outcome of students with disabilities in this area; and (c) what are the post-education employment trends of student with disabilities.

Response

1. Students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, whether in mainstream schools and the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), or Special Education (SPED) schools, are taught life skills and where they are preparing for work, they are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and values as well as work exposure.

2. Throughout their education journey, students in the mainstream schools and the IHLs have access to Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Counsellors who can advise on suitable education pathways, including post-secondary education options, and career pathways. This helps them to make informed decisions for successful transition from school or higher education to work. Secondary and Junior College students with additional needs receive further guidance and support from teachers and other staff such as Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support). At the IHLs, dedicated SEN Support Officers prepare students with SEN for employment, by partnering the community and industry to identify internship opportunities and provide pre-internship and employment workshops. These cover workplace norms, communication skills, interview and resume writing.

3. Students in SPED schools are given work exposure, experience and skills development through a structured vocational education curriculum from age 13. With the support and mentorship from teachers, vocational instructors and job coaches, students are equipped with everyday skills such as independent travel, to industry-specific skills. The current focus of the review of the vocational education curriculum is on soft skills to enhance SPED graduates' job experience and sustain employment. Vocational certification is offered at Metta School, Delta Senior School and Pathlight School. Students may also progress to employment without formal certification, after completing internships organised by their schools, many of which lead to job placements after graduation.

4. For work-capable SPED students who need more time to be work-ready, the School-to-Work (S2W) Transition Programme by MOE, MSF and SG Enable offers them customised training pathways-cum-work options. S2W includes up to two years of worksite-based, customised job training with support from Job Coaches, and employment services such as job referrals after students graduate from their SPED schools. Each year, about half of the SPED graduating cohort progresses to IHLs or other forms of training or are successfully employed, in sectors such as Food and Beverage (F&B) and hospitality.

5. Based on MOM's Comprehensive Labour Force Survey (CLFS), 29% of resident persons with disabilities in the working ages of 15 to 64 are employed. This statistic would exclude those with milder SEN who do not require much support post-school and do not identify as a person with a disability.

6. We encourage employers to be part of the whole-of-society effort, to partner our educational institutions to provide internships, training and employment opportunities for young Singaporeans, especially those with additional, longer-term challenges.

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