More needed for special learning difficulties
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Government initiatives to help students with special learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, have failed to pacify parents and legislators.
Members of the Legislative Council's panel of education this week passed a motion calling for a comprehensive plan to assist youngsters with delays in learning.
In a document published ahead of the meeting, the Education and Manpower Bureau and the Department of Health outlined measures to assist students with special learning difficulties.
They include: an assessment tool for special learning difficulties in reading and writing among junior high school students, a guideline for secondary teachers, a mathematics resource package at the primary level and more training for teachers.
But parents, concern groups and legislators demanded more.
Chan Kam-ming, of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, a non-governmental organisation, said a group should be set up consisting of representatives of relevant government departments and NGOs to step up support for students with learning difficulties.
More help should be provided to these students before and after the diagnosis. 'Many parents feel helpless while some teachers don't know how to help these students,' he said.
Ng Lai-ho, convenor for a parent group affiliated to Heep Hong Society, an NGO, criticised the EMB for failing to care for students who had been diagnosed with the condition.
She was adamant that the bureau must introduce measures to help secondary students with special learning difficulties. Subsidy should be given directly to students, not schools, while support must be provided to secondary teachers to formulate a policy in school to help these students.
Iris Ngan Keung Wai-lin, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Association for Specific Learning Difficulties, expressed frustration over a lack of a comprehensive policy. 'We've been negotiating with the EMB for nearly 10 years. All we hope is that our children will be cared for in schools.'
Fanny Lam Fan Kit-fong, a principal assistant secretary at the EMB, said she would be happy to meet parents and NGOs on a regular basis, adding that she would consider assessment before students enter primary and secondary schools.