Time to re-educate government on its school integration policy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2007, 12:00am

Finally, public awareness has been raised concerning the lack of support for parents of dyslexics, as revealed by the latest Ombudsman's report on Thursday. Meanwhile, is it also time for the government to evaluate the dysfunctional integration education policy for children who need special education and cannot study happily in the normal curriculum?

Educators and government officials who support this integration policy have overlooked the unfavourable factors in local mainstream schools. Despite the training courses on dyslexia for school representatives run by the Education and Manpower Bureau, frontline teachers face frustration and stress dealing with students with learning difficulties, including dyslexics.

With the heavy daily workload, there is no doubt that even those teachers who have received the training can hardly offer adequate attention to these children. They are mostly treated as disruptive or underachievers in regular schools.

Educators who support the integration policy and blindly follow their counterparts overseas have been overlooking the fact that the bigger class sizes and heavier non-teaching duties of most teachers in Hong Kong have set unfavourable conditions for the growth and development of dyslexics.

Instead of saving government expenditure the existing integration policy just wastes more, in terms of resources and the 'human capital'. Moreover, even if all primary and secondary teachers are professionally trained, which is highly unlikely or, if true, another huge waste of resources, no one can ensure the provision of any quality time for children who need special education under the present mechanism and constraints.

Can the educators and officials think from the perspective of the children, some of whom are bullied or laughed at by their counterparts because of their weak academic attainment under the normal curriculum.

Is this the opportune moment for the re-education of our government about the issue and for a revamp of our integration education policy to make it fair to all parties concerned?

Kendra Ip, Kowloon