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Government’s support for Special Education has been boosted with the provision of over $800 million in the 2009/2010 Estimates of Expenditure.
The total figure of $846.6 million will be apportioned as follows: schools for the mentally challenged, $405 million; institutions for the hearing impaired, $159 million; and schools for the visually impaired, $60 million.
The funds will be used to assist with direction and administration, instructions, maintenance of buildings, and equipment and boarding. In addition, non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which provide special education programmes, received $62.5 million toward teachers’ salaries.
A sum of $72 million was secured for the Mico College Child Assessment and Research in Education (CARE) Centre, to be used for assessment and instruction. The institution was established to ensure the early detection of disabilities which affect the development of children, and prescribe corrective instructional programmes to address the disabilities diagnosed.
The Centre also operates a remediation programme for children identified with mild disabilities.
The Hope Valley Experimental School, which offers education to non-disabled and disabled children, was granted $59.7 million for direction and administration, instruction and maintenance of buildings and equipment.
Schools for the multiple disabled will get $2.7 million to help with direction and administration, as well as $23 million for supervision and administration.
The objective of the spending, over the fiscal year, is to improve the provision of special education for students with particular needs,including: increase access to quality education and support services; support initiatives to raise the performance of students; and promotion of intersectoral collaboration to secure opportunities for prevention and early interventions.
There are also plans to conduct limited psycho-educational assessment, in order to assist in appropriate placement. This is in addition to continuing partnerships with the private sector, and fostering strong parental partnership in support of the education of children with special needs.
Special education is provided mainly through private voluntary organisations in association with the Government of Jamaica. It embraces those programmes designed to meet the educational needs of children, four to 18 years old, identified as having mental, physical and intellectual capabilities which deviate significantly from the norm expected of their age.

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