The Department of Education will be observing November as Special Needs Education Awareness Month, with the theme: “No Child Left Behind”.
The Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor, commented, “Special Needs will be given priority here in the Turks and Caicos Islands. As stated in our Citizen’s Contract, as a Government we will, “Develop a Special Needs Services Centre dedicated to the assessment, therapy, and social integration of individuals with Special Needs”.
The Government’s recent Supplementary Budget passed in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, November 2, has addressed Special Needs for the short term and included:
* Additional $150,000.00 to assist with out of school Special Needs students
* Additional $150,000.00 to assist in the Ministry of Health with Assessments and overseas care of Special Needs students.
The Minister added, “We currently have 14 Special Needs teachers spread across 16 Public Schools in the country. We are pleased to announce that Mr Jasmin Walkin has returned to the Civil Service as Education Officer with responsibilities for Special Needs whose responsibilities it is to co-ordinate the implementation of the Special Needs Policy and oversee the work of and professional development for the SEN teachers.
I am excited also to announce that work has commenced on establishing a National Special Needs Service Centre to serve as the national hub for assessment, diagnosis and educational services geared towards children and families with special needs and various disabilities.”
In observance of Special Needs Education Awareness Month, a number of media events are being planned to:
Raise awareness for Special Needs Education & Services;
Promote a Special Needs Education National Registration Drive;
Give the Ministry of Education the platform to share future plans Special Needs Education; and
Invite Ministry of Health & Human Services to highlight the current Special Needs Services being offered in the country.
The official launch press conference took place on Monday, November 8 at the Office of Premier, Providenciales.
The activities during the rest of the month include “No Child Left Behind” 30-minute virtual newsmagazine, a National Roundtable Discussion on Special Needs Education & Services in the TCI, Special Needs Education National Registration Drive.
November 15 will see the relaunch of the Department’s Special Education Newsmagazine “INCLUSION”.
The Special Needs Education Officer, Jas Walkin stated, “I am inviting parents, teachers, special educators and external agencies to be a part of these initiatives and I promise that when it comes to awareness for Special Needs Education, this will be a November to Remember!”