Gov't promises support for students with special needs

Gov't promises support for students with special needs

Friday, December 06, 2019

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THE Government says it is committed to providing the necessary support to strengthen inclusive school environments that enable students with special needs to function effectively.

This was stated by assistant chief education officer, media services, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Nadine Simms, who represented Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Grace McLean at the Disabilities Awareness Conference, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Wednesday.

She said the Special Education Unit continues to receive a wealth of research and feedback on changing world trends and best practices, and has resources to address the needs of all the nation's children.

The Special Education Unit and regional offices, said Simms, are to be staffed with special needs coordinators, clinical psychologists and educational psychologists.

“Through this staff complement, led by the assistant chief education officer with responsibility for education, Dr Sharon Anderson Morgan, the ministry has been providing diagnostic services to determine the special needs of students and seeing that students are placed where they really belong,” Simms added.

She said additional caregivers have been provided through the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment programme. The caregivers are assigned to students.

“This programme is a means by which students with special needs are to remain in their community schools and be educated alongside their peers, while also receiving the additional support needed to function effectively in the school environment,” Simms said.

She said it is the objective of the ministry to ensure that persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in Jamaica's development process, so that the sustainable development goals are realised not only for persons with disabilities, but also by and with persons with disabilities.

Simms said the ministry is aware that challenges remain in the sector, such as accessibility, adding that this is being addressed through the ramps in schools programme.

“The ministry will continue to support stakeholders in addressing any gaps and challenges in empowering, education, health, social security and accessibility for persons with disabilities,” she said.

The Disabilities Awareness Conference was organised by the Special Education Unit in the ministry, and was held under the theme 'Every Learner Matters'.

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