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Education Ministry to Provide Support for Students with Special Needs This Year

By: , September 12, 2022
Education Ministry to Provide Support for Students with Special Needs This Year
Photo: YHomo Hutchinsom
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), and Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams (left, seated), listen as Acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry, Dr. Kasan Troupe, answers questions during the Office of the Prime Minister’s Face-to-Face Town Hall meeting at Jamaica College in St. Andrew, on Friday (September 9).

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Approximately 7,000 students who sat this year’s Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations and are deemed in need of special assistance with their academics, will receive support from the Ministry of Education and Youth during the 2022/23 school year.

Some $29 million is slated to be spent by the Ministry to undertake special assessments for students categorised on Pathway Two and Three, which relate to students’ needs for specialised interventions.

Acting Chief Education Officer, Dr. Kasan Troupe, said this forms part of the wide range of services and support being offered by the Ministry’s Special Needs Unit.

“Every year after PEP, those students who we consider [falling within] Pathway Two and Three, we offer external assessment services in partnership with the University of the West Indies, Mona. That process is underway, and those students will be assessed,” she stated.

She was responding to questions during the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) Face-to-Face Townhall Meeting, which was held at Jamaica College in St. Andrew, on September 9.

Dr. Troupe said each region has a Clinical Psychologist, Educational Psychologist, and Diagnostician to support the administration of assessment services.

“We have a Special Needs Coordinator, also, in each Region that works predominantly with the students at the high school level,” she added.

Following the completion of assessments, Dr. Troupe advised that the Ministry will provide placement services for the students.

“We have, I think, 11 [public] special needs exclusive schools and we partner with 17 private special needs institutions, and we place students based on their diagnoses,” she
informed, adding that this undertaking can cost between $300,000 and $400,000 per child per annum.

Remuneration is also provided for caregivers chosen by the parents, who may need to support the student throughout their daily classes with needs relating to personal care and nutrition.

“[Last year], we provide [for] 232 of those [caregivers], and we’ve seen over 100 persons apply additionally to the 232… and we have responded to that call,” Dr. Troupe further disclosed.

Meanwhile, other support services, such as the digitisation of textbooks to accommodate students who are visually or hearing-impaired, as well as those who may need a writer for their examinations, are also provided through the Unit.

“If your child needs big, bold, prints, we print the exam paper separately for that child. So, we have a range of services for our students with special needs,” Dr. Troupe said.

Last Updated: September 12, 2022

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