BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Education (MoE) is looking to centralise its special education programmes to specific schools in each district, its minister disclosed on Saturday.

Planning and renovation works to prepare the selected schools have started in the Belait and Tutong districts and are expected to be completed within the 2021/2022 fiscal year. According to the minister, the plan has already been completed in the Temburong district.

“Steps have been taken to set up a Centre of Excellence where we will be able to centralise special needs education to selected schools in each district in order to maximise our resources, especially in terms of teachers and learning support staff,” said YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman.

The minister was responding to a query raised by LegCo representative, YB Pg Hj Mohamed Pg Hj Othman, regarding a shortage of special needs educators.

“The ministry is currently in the process of hiring more teachers and teaching support staff. It is hoped that we can address this issue immediately,” the minister said.

He added that more training would be given to teachers and staff in order to better lead their classrooms.

“The training would not only be for teachers but their assistants and the homeroom teachers… It is our hope that we can carry out the training as soon as possible.”

YB Dato Hj Hamzah also shared that the ministry will be setting up a teachers’ welfare unit, to help educators manage their stress and mental health.

The plan will be carried out by MoE’s Counselling Unit.

“At the moment we have a Counseling Unit for students, and we are now in the process of establishing a Counselling Unit for teachers so that the welfare of teachers can be better addressed, and it will provide a place where teachers can voice any issues or challenges they face.”