Hire more special education teachers, says ex-deputy minister

As at June 30, 92,755 special needs students were enrolled in schools compared with 83,039 last year. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching said today there is a need for more special education teachers in schools as more special needs students are enrolling.

Teo said the zero-reject education policy implemented by the Pakatan Harapan government last year had seen a sharp increase in special needs students in schools and that the education ministry needed to prepare sufficient special education teachers to ensure the students received high-quality education.

Teo Nie Ching

“According to a parliamentary answer from Deputy Education Minister Mah Hang Soon, 516 new special education teachers will graduate from the Institute of Teacher Education between 2020 and 2025.

“But this number does not take into account the major impact of the zero-reject policy because this policy was only implemented in 2019.

“The increase in the number of special needs students actually needs swift action to prepare sufficient teachers,” she said in a statement today.

Teo urged the ministry to take in special education teachers on a contractual basis this year, and not to wait for 2021 since 92,755 special needs students were enrolled in schools as of June 30, compared with 83,039 in January 2019.

She also said the number of special education classes had increased by 513 compared with 2018.