1. At a virtual Special Education (SPED) Teachers' Day Celebration on 2 September 2020, Minister of State for Education, Ms Sun Xueling, announced that MOE will be introducing a series of new initiatives as part of a long-term effort to strengthen SPED teachers' competencies and expertise, called the "The SPED Teaching Profession: Journeys of Excellence" (or "The Journeys Package" in short). This is part of MOE's continuing efforts to provide quality education to students with moderate to severe Special Educational Needs (SEN) in our SPED Schools.
2. At the celebration, Ms Sun also honoured the outstanding contributions of SPED teachers by presenting them the MOE-NCSS Outstanding SPED Teacher Award, the MOE-NCSS Innovation Award and the MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education.
Transforming the Sped Profession: the Journeys Package
3. Students with moderate to severe SEN have a range of disability profiles, thus requiring support that is customised to their specific needs. Our SPED teachers are key in providing the specialised support these students need, and in creating an environment that helps them learn and grow. Thus, it is vital to enhance the quality of SPED teachers, so that they are better equipped to help their students learn and internalise the necessary skills and attributes to lead meaningful and dignified lives in the community, and to become independent and contributing citizens.
4. To raise the quality and professionalism of the SPED teaching profession, MOE embarked on a study in November 2018 to review current human resource practices, roles and frameworks. Besides key SPED stakeholders such as Social Service Agencies (SSAs), more than 70% of SPED teachers were consulted for their views as part of the study.
5. The findings and recommendations of the study led to the conceptualisation of "The Journeys Package", which comprises the following:
- A new SPED Teacher Career Framework and Role Profile. The career framework will introduce two tracks – Leadership and Teaching – with more progression opportunities, to provide SPED teachers with career pathways that would better meet their aspirations.
- A new SPED Teacher Competency Framework with Training Roadmap. The competency framework complements the career framework and defines the desired knowledge and skills required for each job role. The training roadmap will provide learning and development opportunities, allowing teachers to build the necessary skillsets. To support the training roadmap, MOE is working with partners to expand professional development opportunities for SPED teachers.
6. MOE is working with Social Service Agencies (SSAs) and SPED schools to implement the various frameworks and enhancements. In the years to come, we envisage the SPED profession to be a more attractive career with diverse job opportunities for teachers. Salaries will also be reviewed periodically, to be commensurate with SPED teachers' enhanced competencies and to ensure market competitiveness. There are currently around 1,550 teachers across the SPED schools.
Pre-Service Preparation and Training Scheme for New SPED Teachers
7. New hires will be supported with a new pre-service package which includes a contract teaching stint and the enhanced Diploma in Special Education (DISE), to be launched in 2022.
8. The contract teaching stint will provide new SPED teachers valuable practical school experience before enrolment into DISE. The revamped DISE, with its enhanced structure and content, as well as extended duration of study from 9 months to 12 months, will better support new teachers in guiding, nurturing and empowering students with SEN.
9. More information on "The Journeys Package" can be found in Annex A.
Honouring Sped Teachers and Schools
10. This year, three teachers have been awarded the MOE-NCSS Outstanding SPED Teacher Award (OSTA) in recognition of their passion, dedication and commitment in providing a well-rounded education for students with SEN. They were selected from a total of 115 nominees.
11. Three schools have also been awarded the MOE-NCSS Innovation Award (IA) in recognition of their outstanding efforts to creatively engage students in their learning. The projects were selected out of a total of 26 IA nominations from 10 SPED schools.
12. Three SPED teachers were awarded the MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education (MSSPED). This scholarship was started in 2011 to provide SPED teachers with professional upgrading opportunities through postgraduate studies. The scholarship is open to registered trained Singaporean SPED teachers who have served at least five years in SPED schools.
13. The list of award recipients can be found in Annex B.