Urgent need for two more special education classes in SJK Chung Hua No.1

Chai (third right) together with Fatimah (fourth right) and other guests on stage after the unveilling and signing of the plaque to mark the opening of the new special classroom.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Aug 5: SJK Chung Hua No. 1 now has two special education classes following the launching of one class today for 14 students, but it urgently needs to open up two more classes to support and provide for the increasing enrollment of special and unique learners.

Highlighting this, Kuching Chung Hua Primary School No. 1-6 Committee of Management chairman Dato Jonathan Chai Voon Tok hopes the Ministry of Education (MOE) and State Education Department (JPN) will give the approval for the additional two special classes to be set up soon.

“We started with the humble beginning of one class last year with a maximum intake of seven students. Due to the great demand from the community, we decided to set up another class this year with approval and support from JPN.

“Today, we are grateful to be here to witness the official launching of the class for special education under the Integrated Special Education Programme.

“This is the fruitful result of the prompt approvals of MOH and JPN, the undivided support of the Board of Management and generous donors, and above all, our committed headmasters and headmistresses and the dedicated teaching staff who are willing to take up the challenge,” he said at the special class launching ceremony at SJK Chung Hua No. 1 today.

It was officiated by Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

Noting the shortage of trained teachers for special education, Chai, however, said they remain hopeful for the two additional special classes to be approved soon.

He emphasised that the school and the Committee of Management have come a long way in closing the education gap, but more needed to be done, and efforts from all sectors must continue to ensure progress towards inclusive education.

For many years, he informed that SJK Chung Hua Serian had been the only Chinese-aided school in this region to offer special education for needy children.

But with the intentional efforts and persistent encouragement from the Association of the Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary Schools in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division, Chai said there are now three SJK Chung Hua schools which offer the programme, namely SJK Chung Hua Siburan, SJK Chung Hua Taiton in Bau, and SJK Chung Hua No. 1 here.

“The support of the government at both Federal and State levels, creating public awareness, and continued reforms remain necessary.

“With such progress, special education in this country will be inclusive, equal and accessible to all children who need it,” he added.

Sarawak Education Department director Datu Dr Azhar Ahmad, organising chairman Rodger Chan, Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Dato Tan Jit Kee, Committee of Management of SJK Chung Hua No.1 vice chairman Leong Pek Chau, and school headmaster Lee Mui Huat were among those present. — DayakDaily