Quality education for all. Will it still be accessble? — Teo Nie Ching

OCTOBER 21 — Will the current government continue the Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) effort in making sure that quality education is accessible to all? This is especially for the kids with special needs.

When we were governing, the Ministry of Education implemented the “Zero Reject Policy (ZRP).” And as a result, we saw tangible evidence; the increasing numbers of special needs children studying in government school.

Before ZRP was implemented, there were 83,039 special needs students in the government school. But after a year and a half, we had a remarkable increase; 92,755 students in the system.

In order to support ZRP, PH government increased the Special Needs Student Allowance allocation significantly. Compared to RM100 million in 2018, the allocation was increased to RM155 million in 2020.

The additional RM55 million because we cared and it was translated into a bigger budget allocation. Not only that, in 2019 we also upgraded 840 schools into a disabled-friendly institution. PH continued to support this move by approving a budget of RM23 million in 2020 to recondition more disabled-friendly schools.

There are plans to establish few other Genius Kurnia branches in Kedah and Melaka. However, East Coast should also be included in the plan because there is only one Genius Kurnia in Kuala Lumpur. We wanted to make sure that children between the age of 4 and 6 who had been diagnosed with autism would get early intervention.

Therefore, it is my hope that in the much awaited 2021 Budget, we will continue to see:

1. An increase for Special Needs Student Allowance;

2. MOE under Perikatan Nasional (PN) to continue giving more allocation in order to upgrade school facilities. This is to ensure continuous success of the ZRP so that it will not become just another glimmering shiny policy on paper; and

3. Genius Kurnia programmes to be expanded and to be given priority.

* Teo Nie Ching is Member of Parliament for Kulai and former Deputy Education Minister.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer(s) or organisation(s) and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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