1. At the Special Education Conference on 4 November 2016, Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng announced that children with moderate to severe Special Educational Needs (SEN) will be included within the Compulsory Education (CE) Framework.
2. An Advisory Panel, chaired by Minister of State for Education Dr Janil Puthucheary, has been appointed to study the implementation of CE for these children, and consult with various stakeholder groups such as SPED schools, educators, parents and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). The Panel will make recommendations in the areas of exemption from Compulsory Education, and placement of children with SEN in appropriate educational settings. The Panel is expected to present its recommendations to MOE by the end of 2017.
3. The 17-member Panel comprises professionals with a range of expertise, including experienced SPED leaders, educators and medical practitioners, who are firm believers in the importance of ensuring that every child is able to access formal education regardless of his or her disability. The list of Panel members can be found in Annex A.
4. Dr Puthucheary shared, “The work ahead of the panel will not be easy. We need to look at the finer details of implementing CE so that we can appreciate concerns and operational difficulties, and think through what are the best solutions for our children. We are mindful of the impact our work will have on children with SEN, their families and the SPED community, and we will make careful, considered recommendations to ensure a smooth implementation process.”
5. Vice-Chairperson of the Panel, Ms Denise Phua, said, “I am very encouraged to be a part of this Panel with so many other people passionate about helping children with SEN. Education is an important stepping stone to a better life for every child. I look forward to a robust discussion with fellow Panel members on how CE can be implemented to best serve our children.”