Tuesday, March 26

Teo: 75 per cent enrolment of special needs students by 2025


Teo (seated, tenth left), Wong (eleventh left) and others in a photocall in front of the new school gate.

KUCHING: The Ministry of Education aims to achieve the 75 per cent target of special needs students enrolled into an inclusive programme, who have to study alongside other normal students by 2025.

“At the moment, we have about 40 per cent of our special needs children enrolled in the programme,” Deputy Minister of Education Teo Nie Ching said during the opening ceremony of ‘Gate of Alumni’ at SMJK Kuching High here Friday.

She added that teaching materials in Chinese, Tamil and other ethnic languages, besides the national language, would also be available for the special needs children by 2019.

In her opening speech earlier, she admitted feeling bad that the students had to line up from the school gate to the assembly hall to welcome her, but assured the school that they do not have to do so next time.

“The number of students lining up from the gate to the hall will not affect my decision on how much funds to be allocated to the school,” she said.

Teo and others cut a cake to declare open the new gate.

Teo, a Teochew herself, said SMJK Kuching High is the first school she came across to be mainly supported by the local Teochew association since it was established in 1916.

While supporting and funding schools are the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and the government, she said any limited fund given could only do so much.

“We welcome as much contributions as possible from all stakeholders willing to step in to assist schools,” she said.

She also assured the crowd that her ministry would deliver the promise of building a new Chinese medium school in Kuching in the near future.

“I will work closely with the local community to make sure that we will be able to build a new (Chinese medium) school for the people of Kuching.”

She said it was the goal of the ministry to build as many schools as possible for all Malaysian children, whenever there was a need.

She also said her ministry would look into the requests of the school to build a new two-storey building, a multipurpose hall, and upgrading of the information and communication technology (ICT) facilities at the school.

She said the money would be delivered by end of the year.

The new school gate was built to replace an older one which did not fulfil the standard set by the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), and which resulted in the delay of the fire-fighting operation during the 2008 fire that razed the school.

Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei, a representative from Sarawak Education Department Omar Mohd, principal Tan Kiang Tuang and Ex-Highians Association Kuching chairperson Pauline Gan Guet Beng were among those present at the event.