In this letter published in Today’s Voices on 21 January 2016, SPD’s executive director Mr Abhimanyau Pal shares how inclusive education can help to realise the potential of students with disabilities, and how we can play a part in creating such an ecosystem.
We at SPD (formerly known as the Society for the Physically Disabled) are heartened to learn that students with disabilities have done well in their ‘O’ Levels, and we would like to congratulate Janessa Yu and Samuel Lim on their achievements (“O-Level students’ determination in face of physical adversity pays off”; Jan 11).
Education is a powerful enabler that can transform lives. With education, persons with disabilities can hope to realise their potential and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills for an enhanced future.
For the students who attained good results, their hard work and resilience paid off. Equally commendable are all who supported these students on their education journey.
Promoting an inclusive education requires the support of all stakeholders. The Government, corporations, voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), schools, teachers, families and peers all play a part in building an inclusive education ecosystem, where students with and without disabilities receive support to participate in all aspects of school life.
For instance, schools and teachers are in a position to provide the facilities and necessary accommodation to help students learn and cope with their schoolwork and examinations. Peers’ friendship and acceptance encourage the integration and inclusion of students with disabilities into the school community.
Corporate organisations such as Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation, Microsoft Singapore and NatSteel Holdings have been sponsoring education-related programmes to support students with disabilities in their educational pursuits.
As a VWO, SPD’s Education Programme offers bursaries to alleviate the financial burden on students with disabilities and their family members, and provides a range of services such as therapy, counselling, social support and enrichment activities to nurture well-rounded students. Together, stakeholders form a network that supports the different aspects of students’ educational advancement.
Students with disabilities achieving good academic performance is encouraging news. It proves that with perseverance, opportunities and appropriate accommodation, students with disabilities can do well.
It is important that all stakeholders work hand-in-hand to build an inclusive education ecosystem that provides for equal education opportunities and allows students with disabilities to develop and flourish. This enables students with disabilities to pursue their dreams like any other student, and to groom and equip them to contribute and make a positive impact in our society.
SPD (formerly the Society for the Physically Disabled)