Vocational training centres for special needs people

Fatimah Abdullah (fourth left) present the mock cheque to Kuching Autism Society (KAA) president Dr Catherine Chen (second left) while (from left) KAA secretary Duane Reggie, KAA patron Datuk Dayang Morliah Datuk Awang Daud, Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development permanent secretary Dr Rashidah Bolhassan and State Social Welfare Department director Noriah Ahmad look on during a visit at the premise in Batu Kawa, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Sarawak is in dire need to establish vocational training centres specialised for people with special needs, said Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

“We have proposed to the Education Ministry for the setting up of a PWD (persons with disabilities) vocational school in Sarawak, and the ministry had approved this project under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP),” she said during her official visit to Kuching Autistic Association (KAA) here in Batu Kawa today.

Fatimah noted that the impact of stigmatisation on the community had led to the low employment rates of the special needs adults.

“We are planning to work with training centres like Centexs (Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak), SATT, PPKS (Sarawak Skills Development Centre), iCATS and other training centres to provide relevant training courses for PWD.

“In the pipeline is the establishment of a Special Needs Community Centre under the 12MP to provide living skills and suitable skill training for PWD from different categories of disabilities” she added.

Fatimah said the state government, in the meantime, is looking into collborating with existing vocational training centres to provide training courses for people with special needs.

She said this is necessary in order to be able to address the education gap faced by the PWD who have completed their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

“The rehabilitation services and support services for PWDs in Sarawak are available with support from the Sarawak government.

“However, these services need to be reviewed and improved in order to provide a more comprehensive network to support the PWD in Sarawak.

“The way forward is to complement the available services and provide certifications for courses to equip PWD with job employment to become entrepreneurs,” she said.

Fatimah added that the establishment of the first state’s One-Stop Early Intervention Centre (Oseic) would bring new hope to children with special needs, aged seven and below in the state.

“The state government is committed to provide better education access for all children, especially those with special needs.

“That’s why the state government also provides grants to welfare voluntary organisations (PSK) such as rational grants to help NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to cover the costs of food and beverages for supporting staff and special allowances for students with disabilities,” she added.

Earlier, Fatimah presented a mock check for  RM4,179,000 to KAA for the construction of its new building.