Parliament Briefs: Sufficient places in Sped schools

Sufficient places in Sped schools

Demand for places in schools providing special education (Sped) has risen in recent years owing to an increase in the number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, said Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary in Parliament yesterday.

But overall, there are sufficient places in Sped schools for students, he said.

The waiting time for admission to a Sped school ranges from three months to more than a year, he added.

This depends on parents' preferences, the capacity of schools, complexity of a child's needs, and whether a school can adequately support the child.

Childcare places in demand

There are about 13,800 children on waiting lists hoping for childcare places this month, although 40 per cent of them are already enrolled in centres while their parents try to get them into preferred centres, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin told Parliament yesterday.

For a few housing estates with high demand for childcare, such as Punggol and Sengkang, the waiting time for a place can range from a few weeks to a few months, said Mr Tan, in response to a question by Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC).

The number of childcare places has gone up to more than 130,000 since 2012 to meet demand - up by over 40 per cent.

Mr Tan said his ministry is working closely with the HDB to try and minimise the gap between new flats being ready and childcare centres in the estate beginning operations.

To address the industry's manpower needs, the Early Childhood Manpower Plan was launched last year, and the polytechnics increased student intake for early childhood diploma courses by more than 70 per cent last year, he added.

Foreign architects: Easier to practise here?

It could soon be easier for foreign architects to practise in Singapore, if upcoming changes to the Architects Act are passed.

The proposed changes will allow the Board of Architects here to recognise qualifications and standards adopted by similar bodies governing architects overseas.

Similarly, these foreign bodies have to recognise standards observed by Singapore's board.

This would allow foreign architects to be registered under the local Act, letting them practise in Singapore. It would also allow registered architects in Singapore to supply architectural services overseas.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong tabled the proposed changes in Parliament yesterday.

The changes will be debated after the Budget debate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'Parliament Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe