Reimagining the Future of Special Needs Education in an Uncertain World

16 February 2023 @ 8:30 am - 10:30 am

Raffles City Convention Centre

Right from its establishment 186 years ago the Chamber has always been a strong advocate of education because of its power to enable, uplift and facilitate social mobility. Thanks to the continuing generosity of our exclusive event sponsor Newcastle Australia Institute of Higher Education Pte Ltd, we held a breakfast talk this morning on reimagining the future of special needs education in an uncertain world. The audience comprised educationalists, enablers and practitioners as well as businesspeople keen to understand more. Some businesspeople who attended have children with special needs.

Real inclusivity in education is rare. In his keynote address, Dr. Carl Leonard, Co-convenor, Master of Special and Inclusive Education, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Australia highlighted the importance of providing a multi-dimensional model of support for special needs students.  The early years of a child’s life are critical something HRH The Princess of Wales has stated is her life’s work. The earlier the intervention, the better chance of narrowing learning gaps and enabling progress with flexible curriculum delivery. Personalized learning programmes really help special needs students and are a key enablers of success. Likewise, sustained investment in teachers, including liberating them from administrative tasks which add no value to students, to keep them motivated and to retain them is so important. Carl praised the great work being done in several schools in Singapore all of which are Chamber members. He stressed the need for teachers to advocate and share best practices with each other. Carl also talked about how parents and teachers need to work as a team to help students grow in confidence and equip them with the skills they need to lead independent lives. Businesses have an equally important team role to play in providing job opportunities which allow differently abled people to thrive and contribute.

Following Carl’s address there was a spirited dialogue with the audience moderated by Mr. Victor Mills, Chief Executive, SICC. The key messages are collaboration is key across society as are innovation, empathy and support in order to achieve inclusive education in Singapore and in Australia. Only by working together can we hope to progress in our uncertain world.

The Chamber thanks Newcastle Australia Institute of Higher Education Pte Ltd for its very generous support, Dr. Carl Leonard for sharing his expertise and knowledge and the audience for its input and participation.


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