Ensure those with special needs are ready for future workplace

I was pleased to learn that starting from 2019, children with moderate to severe special needs will need to attend publicly funded schools, just like all other children in Singapore ("Children with moderate to severe special needs to be part of Compulsory Education Act"; ST Online, yesterday).

I agree with the Government that all Singaporean children must have basic education because knowledge and skills are crucial for a life of self-sufficiency and independence.

More importantly, those with special needs must be given the best chance to get employment.

Thus, it is crucial to ensure that special needs education is customised such that these children can be prepared to meet the challenges of the future workplace.

The Government should research and project the possible needs and physical constraints that will emerge in a workplace of the future.

Perhaps, a percentage of employment positions within the civil service could be allocated to employees with special needs.

With the Government setting this example, small- and medium-sized enterprises can be encouraged to follow suit.

Colin Ong Tau Shien

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Ensure those with special needs are ready for future workplace'. Print Edition | Subscribe