Part II Career-oriented Studies (COS)
Chapter 7 The Government’s Position on Special Education
Chapter 7 The Government’s Position on Special
in many of the schools, it is necessary to develop a broader curriculum that will help prepare students for independent living.
The range of teaching strategies used is often narrow and didactic.
Also, strengthened systems for monitoring learning and teaching, and tracking the progress of students need to be put in place;
parents and schools currently cooperate well but that should be a partnership which demands more of students, setting and maintaining higher expectations of achievement; and
there should be a clear statement on the overall purposes of special education and an agreed curriculum framework.
7.3 The present consultation deals with the academic structure and curriculum framework for special schools. Other issues will be dealt with in the Review.
Position and Purpose of Special Education
7.4 Special education is provided for children to overcome their barrier in learning arising from disability or learning difficulties. The overarching objective is to enable students with SEN to maximise their potential to the fullest possible extent, achieve as much independence as they are capable of, and become well-adjusted individuals and contributing members of the community.
7.5 It is Government policy to place students with SEN in ordinary schools insofar as they can benefit from integrated education. However, for students with severe, profound or multiple disabilities who cannot benefit from ordinary school settings, they will be placed in special schools where their disabilities, impairments and learning difficulties will be properly managed, while opportunities will be arranged for them to interact with ordinary students in other settings to enhance learning and social integration.
7.6 The following chapters present proposals on the design and provision of special education under NSS that centre around improving student learning to achieve the purpose in para. 7.4. Chapter 8 sets out the way forward for the development of the curriculum framework for students with SEN. Chapter 9 outlines student assessment and the support for professional development.
Chapter 10 highlights quality assurance and discusses the exit pathways for students with SEN. Chapter 11 discusses resources considerations and invites comments for further discussion. Chapter 12 sets out the critical milestones in preparation for the implementation of NSS in special schools in 2009.
7.7 The following broad principles underpin the design and provision of senior secondary education for students with SEN:
The same curriculum framework should govern student learning throughout the 12-year primary and secondary education, with adaptation to suit students of different learning characteristics and needs.
Students with SEN who are intellectually capable of pursuing the ordinary curriculum will aim at achieving the same curricular objectives for NSS, and be assessed in the same way as other students but with appropriate assessment accommodation.
For students with intellectual disabilities4 (ID), the NSS education aims to provide extended years of learning to prepare them for transition to work and adult life. The emphasis will be to enhance their vocational awareness and preparation for independent living, with due regard for whole-person development and nurturing of life-long learning capabilities.
Students with ID will adopt a NSS(ID) curriculum building upon the prior knowledge and experiences acquired at the basic education level and the Extension of Years of Education (EYE) Programme.
The NSS(ID) curriculum will comprise the same three components, namely core, electives and OLE, and adopt an integrated approach to learning. Each component is placed along a continuum with suitable curriculum adaptation, learning and teaching activities and assessment mode to suit different learning needs.
The NSS(ID) curriculum also aims to provide students, where appropriate, with practical skill training and enhance interface with the post-school pathways.
Under the overall curriculum framework and expected learning outcomes, Individualised Education Programme (IEP) will define the learning goals, pace of learning and level of attainment for individual students with ID. Teachers, specialists, parents and, where appropriate, students will participate in developing the IEP and put in place mechanisms for monitoring progress and learning outcomes.
Proposed Structure for Special Schools under NSS
7.8 It is the policy of the Government to facilitate integration of students with SEN in ordinary schools only where students would so benefit. Experience shows that some students are better off continuing their senior secondary education in special schools. Taking into account the students’ abilities and progression pathways, we propose the academic structure for each type of special schools as follows:
Schools for the Visually Impaired
7.9 At present, the school for the visually impaired (VI) offers the ordinary curriculum up to junior secondary level. Its students have integrated successfully into ordinary schools at various class levels. We propose to maintain the existing academic structure. School placement services will be provided to enable students to be placed at appropriate class levels in ordinary schools, as and when they are ready for integration.
Schools for the Hearing Impaired
7.10 Students in schools for the hearing impaired (HI) have severe to profound hearing impairment, which causes delays in language acquisition and development.
They may also have serious disability in auditory reception and oral expression.
We propose to maintain 10 years of basic education for these students with normal intellectual ability to prepare them better for the 3-year senior secondary education.
Schools for the Physically Disabled
7.11 Students in schools for the physically disabled (PD) have severe or multiple physical disabilities. Their learning is frequently and regularly disrupted by various therapies and hospitalisation. We propose to maintain 10 years of basic education for PD students with normal intellectual ability to prepare them better for the 3-year senior secondary education.
Schools for Social Development
7.12 Students in schools for social development have emotional and behavioural difficulties that are transient in nature. They should be re-integrated into ordinary schools when the transient problem subsides. However, some students may relapse and some may encounter, or continue to have, difficulties in the senior secondary levels. We therefore propose that the academic structure be extended by 3 years to cover senior secondary education.
Schools for the Intellectually Disabled
7.13 On grounds of equity, we propose to provide students with ID, including those attending VI, HI and PD schools, 3 years junior secondary education and 3 years senior secondary education. They will be challenged to improve their learning through the IEP which will define the expected learning outcomes.
7.14 At present, the Hospital School caters for children up to junior secondary level in 17 hospital units. Service is provided for students once they enter the hospital irrespective of the length of stay. Students do take sick leave from time to time, even if they are not hospitalised. Currently they are provided with education services only if they are home-bound for at least three months and upon the request of parents. It is therefore questionable whether students should be given lessons in hospital, if they stay for less than three days, since the education service provided is mainly compensatory and remedial in nature. On the other hand, we propose to extend hospital education service to provide for students at the senior secondary levels.