Education | Lawmaker says teaching of special education students falling behind

The government should strengthen the evaluation mechanisms for students with special education needs and ensure that there is sufficient resources for these students in schools, lawmaker Sulu Sou noted in his recent interpellation. He argued that the state of such education in Macau has fallen behind.
Teaching students with special education needs, sometimes referred to as SEN teaching, is the practice of teaching students with reference to their individual differences and needs. In ideal cases, specific teaching plans are tailored for each student while the entire process is closely monitored to ensure the greatest possible outcomes for the students.
The lawmaker referenced that as early as 24 years ago, when the then-Macau government established Decree No. 33/96/M, which was made to specifically help people who have difficulty blending into the traditional education system for a variety of reasons.
Sou believes ensuring SEN students receive adequate learning support is vital as it is at the core of the city’s special education system.
The lawmaker noted that Article 6 of the Decree stipulates the provision of subjects which can play to the strengths of SEN students and promote academic progress for them. Options to drop or swap certain courses should be offered to these students.
Laws made after the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region have also paved ways for SEN education. Article 12 of the Law No. 9/2006 stipulates that special education courses, teaching materials and assessment methods must be matched with the characteristics of each student in order to develop its potential and assist its integration into society.
Despite the legal stipulation, the development of SEN education in Macau, according to the lawmaker, has been left behind. Sou has information that some parents could not secure a seat for their children, even after reportedly enquiring with 10 schools.
Meanwhile, contradicting the world’s trend toward smaller classes, schools in Macau have to expand class sizes in order to accommodate the growing number of students.
The estimated number of students across the different education levels in the last academic year of 2019/2020 rose 2.6% year-on-year to 82,683. The education bureau added that the number of students has increased for six consecutive academic years. The academic year starting in 2020 is expected to be the most overcrowded yet due to the most recent baby boom in Macau.

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