Tuesday, October 15

Too many special children left out

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GETTING THE FEEL: Fatimah (seated third right) and PDK Sinar 1Malaysia patron Datin Feona Wan Junaidi (back row, third left) learning the sign language yesterday.

GETTING THE FEEL: Fatimah (seated third right) and PDK Sinar 1Malaysia patron Datin Feona Wan Junaidi (back row, third left) learning the sign language yesterday.

Minister laments few disabled placed in special schools, calls for special vocational school for them

KUCHING: Out of the 34,268 people with disabilities (OKU) recorded in the state, only 3,195 are enrolled in schools providing special classes (Pendidikan Khas) as of February this year.

And currently, 2,048 are studying in 106 primary schools (348 classes) while 1,147 are in 46 secondary schools (174 classes) across the state, said Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.

“Children with disabilities also have their basic rights to proper education,” she pointed out during the launch of the Sinar 1Malaysia Community Rehabilitation Centre (PDK) at Bandar Baru Semariang here yesterday.

Fatimah also said her ministry had written to the Ministry of Education last year to set up a special vocational school for the disabled in the state to enhance their chances of securing employment.

“There are two in Semenanjung Malaysia and it is about time we have one in Sarawak and Sabah,” she said.

Fatimah told parents that once their child has been confirmed to be disabled and requires special needs by a doctor, they should register him or her with the Welfare Department or the nearest PDK to enable the child learn basic skills such as grooming; toilet training and motor training.

“They would also learn how to socialise and interact with one another,” said the Dalat assemblywoman, adding that parents would also gain from PDKs through support groups.

“We have five new PDKs this year, taking the total number to 38 in Sarawak,” she elaborated.

Fatimah also urged the state’s local authorities to provide more facilities for the disabled, such as user-friendly public transport and special lanes.