SINGAPORE - The achievements of special needs children were recognised for the time on Thursday (Aug 17) with the introduction of a new award.
The Lee Kuan Yew Exemplary Student Award recognises the strides made by students in 20 government-funded special education schools in their journey in becoming exemplary role models.
These include academic success as well as achievements in the sporting arena, such as taking part in the Asean Para Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur in September (2017).
Nicole Fu, who is one of the three winners of the award, is among the athletes heading to KL for the Games. She was diagnosed with mild intellectual disability with autism spectrum disorder.
Her mother Ferin Fu said: "As parents, we are very proud of her. It has not been an easy journey and we celebrate every milestone made."
In all, more than 160 students were recognised for their achievements at the Special Awards ceremony, held at the the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, in his opening address, said: "Our government-funded SPED schools have come a long way in providing a meaningful and fulfilling education for students with special educational needs. A key recent development is the inclusion of children with moderate-to-severe special education needs under the compulsory education framework with effect from the 2019 Primary One cohort.
"Further, all special education schools now have a transition planning coordinator."
These developments, Mr Ong said, demonstrate an increasingly inclusive approach in education, and the commitment to help every Singaporean child be the best that he can be.
Another new award at this year's event was the Lee Hsien Loong Interactive Digital Media Smart Nation Award. It recognises polytechnic students in the areas of interactive digital media. Also, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence was extended to primary students for the first time this year. It was previously only awarded to secondary school students.
The various awards were funded by personal donations by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.