SPD Working With Singapore Management University To Help Students With Disabilities Cope Better In School | SPD - Singapore

SPD Working With Singapore Management University To Help Students With Disabilities Cope Better In School

14/02/2014

Photo of SPD representative sign MOU with SMU

SPD and the Singapore Management University (SMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 7 February 2014 to collaborate in developing and promoting best practices for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) in Singapore.

The MOU was signed by SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer and SPD President Ms Chia Yong Yong during the ‘Building a Culture of Inclusion within IHLs’ conference, jointly organised by SMU and SPD, at the SMU Mochtar Riady Auditorium. Witnessing the signing was Guest-of-Honour Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information.

Through this MOU we intend to identify best practices around the world for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in IHLs, and implement and make available inclusive practices that will be well-suited and feasible for IHLs in Singapore. We also hope that the other local universities and even the polytechnics and ITE will jump on the bandwagon to develop and implement inclusive practices in their institutes.

Ms Sim Ann noted, “Our education system is committed to creating opportunities to realise the potential of each child, and to help him meet the challenges of life beyond school… I would like to congratulate SMU and SPD for putting this conference together, and for the initiatives that they will undertake together with the signing of the MOU. Such collaborations will benefit not just SMU students, but also help make our society more aware, more compassionate and a better place for all.”

Said SMU’s Professor De Meyer, “We believe that no deserving student, staff or faculty should be denied access or opportunities at SMU on the basis of their physical, social, economic, cultural attributes or backgrounds.

“This MOU with SPD is a statement of intent, for both organisations to work on integrating services that will benefit our students, staff and faculty. It signifies a first step towards – what we believe – will be a long and meaningful journey. I am confident that the partnership between SPD and SMU will yield fruitful results and positive long-term impact.”

The half-day conference, the first to be organised by an IHL in Singapore, was held in recognition of the challenges many IHLs in Singapore face with how best to support students with disabilities while engaging the wider community of students, staff and faculty to build and sustain a climate of inclusion. The conference sought to provide thought leadership on theories, research and issues on inclusion within IHLs in Singapore, and to foster new ways of thinking about disability in education, as well as to spearhead dialogue between policymakers, practitioners and the other relevant entities within Singapore's education institutions.

The conference drew a stellar line-up of scholars and thought leaders who shared their valuable insights on various aspects of diversity and inclusion in IHLs. They included Dr Earl Avery, Special Assistant to the President & Ombudsman at Bentley University; Mr Chong Kwek Bin from the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped; Ms Mary Quirke from the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability; Mr Royson Poh from SPD; Ms Wong Ailing from Singapore Association for the Deaf, as well as SMU students Mr Marcus Leong and Ms Alicia Teng.

“We look forward to developing and promoting best practices with SMU for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in institutes of higher learning in Singapore. We hope other institutes of higher learning will follow SMU’s lead and develop and promote a culture of inclusion of people with disabilities within its work and learning environments. It is only with our commitment that true inclusion can actualise,” said Ms Chia Yong Yong.