Malaysian government's formal involvement in special education began in 1948 with the opening of Princess Elizabeth School for the Blind. Education for children with special educational needs (SEN) was undertaken by community groups and religious-based institutions. Besides that, education for these children was further enhanced by the establishment of the Federated School for the Deaf in 1954. It offers both academic as well as vocational training.
During the early years of Independence, the government's primary educational concern was to provide educational services and facilities for mainstream children without neglecting the educational needs of children with SEN. In 1961, The Education Act acknowledged that these children should receive free but not compulsory education.
Special Education means specially designed instruction that meets the unusual needs of an exceptional student ( Huefner, 2006) and might require special materials, teaching techniques, or equipment and facilities. These special educational services cover the needs of school aged children with visual impairment, hearing impairment, learning disabilities and remedial education. Special education programs are implemented through programs such as the special schools for the visual impaired and hearing impaired. Moreover, the special school program provides educational programs according to the category of students that the school handles. For example if it is the school for the hearing impaired, only students with this kind of disabilities enters to this school.
In Malaysia children with learning disabilities receive their special educational needs in the integrated and inclusive special education programs offered in the normal mainstream schools. In these schools, students are confined to their own special education programs in special classes but shares access to all the facilities with other normal students in the school. The remedial education programs focus on students who are slightly under achieved in terms of reading, writing and arithmetic (3R) abilities. In this program, students are picked from their respective classes and then brought into special classes to help them with their 3R problems. Special education programs are made available from Pre-school age, primary school level and secondary education level in normal academic and vocational stream.
2. Special Education Programmes.
There are three types of special education programmes available for children with SEN under the Ministry of Education Malaysia, special schools, integrated and inclusion programmes.
2.1 Special Education Schools.
The Special Education Department is responsible for the administration of all special education schools. Matters such as funding for the development of schools, teachers placement and transfer, teachers’ salaries, appointment and promotion of schools heads and monitoring of school management and accounts are being managed by the Department. Previously,...