MoE hosts final consultation on SEND Strategic Action Plan

The Ministry of Education yesterday hosted its final consultation session with strategic stakeholders in Education on the Special Education Needs/Disabilities (SEND) Strategic Action Plan.

This forum was held virtually and gave stakeholders the opportunity to raise concerns, questions and make suggestions regarding the Plan.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand participating in the virtual consultation

The Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand said during today’s session that the development of this Plan is one of the important things that is happening in the Ministry. She said that the consultation sessions that have been held are a prelude to action.

She said that the Ministry of Education is well poised to have these consultations and to determine what is best so that it can begin the robust implementation of how it will address Special Education needs with outcomes in different years by which it can measure its performance.

Chief Planning Officer in the Ministry of Education, Ms. Nicola Johnson said that that the process of developing the Strategic Action planning cycle began in May of this year at the behest of the Minister of Education who saw the need to improve the SEN service delivery within the education sector.

She said that working committee was quickly established with SEN professionals, advocates and a representative of one of our longest-serving development partners, UNICEF, to ensure that the process is data-driven and inclusive.

A screenshot of the virtual consultation that took place on the SEND Strategic Action Plan

According to Ms. Johnson, the Ministry conducted a rapid assessment that took the form of consultations and desk reviews conducted between July and August 2021. She said that disability organizations were also required to complete a survey that collected data on the type of organization, their objectives, beneficiaries of their services and the scope of current activities. She said that this was intended to assess the existing body of services available for likely collaboration and inform this five-year action plan development.

“This process culminated with a synthesis of all the information we have collected from the desk reviews and the consultation with you that led to the emerging of two key outputs,” Ms. Johnson explained.

The two key outputs are (1) the restructuring and reorganizing the operations of the SEN Implementation within the sector and to enhance and improve SEN delivery through improving access to physical facilities and resources.

National SEN Officer, Ms. Savvie Hopkinson said that the consultation advances the Ministry’s policy of inclusivity in planning and formulating strategies by engaging and involving stakeholders, partners in education and those with a vested interest in SEND.

The consultation exercise and the presentation of the strategic action areas was done by Mr. Keon Cheong, Coordinator at the Regional Special Education Needs/Disability Diagnostic and Treatment Centre.