The SDP welcomes the government’s decision to adopt our idea of making education for students with special needs compulsory. We are proud to be the first political party to propose such a policy following decades of advocacy by non-government organisations such as the Asian Women’s Welfare Association.
In 2015, the SDP proposed in our education policy making education for such children compulsory. (Read the full paper titled Educating for Creativity and Equality: An Agenda for Transformation here.)
Last week, the Ministry of Education announced that it would do that. But neither Education Minister Ng Chee Meng nor the mass media acknowledged that it was the SDP who first proposed the idea.
This is what we wrote in our paper:
These problems that parents of special needs children face can be solved by the government undertaking to provide education for all children in Singapore and not discriminate against those with disabilities.
The SDP plan will include amending the Compulsory Education Act that will mandate children with Special Education Needs (SEN) to enrol in schools and kindergartens. This will ensure that children with SEN will not be neglected and that they receive the necessary support for their development.
One year later, the PAP government has followed our lead. Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin even described the move as “a huge step in making Singapore a more inclusive society”. We agree.
This is not the first time that the PAP is following SDP’s lead. It has adopted our proposals in various policies such as:
- Introducing the Fair Consideration Framework following the SDP’s push for a Singaporeans First policy when it comes to jobs.
- Implementing Progressive Wage after the SDP repeatedly called for a minimum wage law.
- Increasing taxes for the richest 5% in 2015 after the SDP called for such an increase for the richest 1% in 2011.
(The PAP has, however, only adopted adulterated and cut-and-paste forms of these policies.)
In this regard, the SDP has demonstrated unequivocally that we are not only a constructive party and a party of ideas, we are also a party of and for the future. More important, we have demonstrated that you don’t need to be paid millions of dollars to come up with good policies.
It is another important reason for the SDP to be in Parliament because the PAP seems to be bankrupt of ideas on how to bring our nation forward.