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St Simon Social Service proposes improvements to the integrated education system

Publish Date: 20-Aug-2019

St Simon Social Service, a social service unit under HKSKH Welfare Council, invited the Education University of Hong Kong to conduct a study on teaching environment for children with education needs (SEN), including those with speech and language impairment, developmental retardation, and high functioning autism. Through studying the interaction between students and teachers, the researchers discovered the shortcomings of current integrated education environment and suggested ways for improvement.

During the nine-month study, researchers observed classes and provided advice for educators at St Simon's Tai Hing Nursery School St Simon's Leung King Nursery School. Ms Jessie Fung, project manager at the Centre for Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Education, pointed out that the current trends in integrated education in Hong Kong are to provide SEN students with the least restrictive learning environment so that they could go to class with other students. This arrangement gives parents more choices and relieves them from the pressure of having their children rejected by mainstream schools or tagged with a negative label. However, under tight resources, schools face huge challenges.

Ms Fung said that to achieve true integrated education, teachers need to be flexible, and be open to allow children to learn together. Teachers responsible for ordinary students need to receive more training so that they will be confident in working with their SEN teachers in classes.

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