The Minister for Education, Heritage & Arts, Hon. Rosy Akbar officiated as the chief guest at the Lautoka School for Special Education (LSSE) Open Day this morning. 

‘I congratulate you all on the 50th Anniversary of this remarkable institution- the year of your Golden Jubilee. I congratulate the founding fathers of the Lautoka School for Special Education, for their vision to introduce equitable, inclusive and accessible opportunities in education to children living with disabilities.

It was their dream that students of this institution would be empowered by the lifelong instruction and training received within these walls, and become adequately prepared for the challenges of life and the world beyond’, Hon. Akbar commented. 

The school roll stands at 132 students, and 29 staff. Two of the staff members are physically challenged; one with a hearing impairment, the other with a vision impairment.

‘It strengthens belief in the systems and processes of the institution when they activate, and not just talk about an inclusive approach to employment opportunities for the disabled society’, Minister Akbar remarked. Minister Akbar shared that the Government’s Special Education Grant in this financial year remains unaffected at $1 million dollars which is shared between the 17 special schools around the country. 

Lautoka School for Special Education caters for students with physical, hearing, speech, intellectual, vision impairments, special learning disabilities and emotional, psychological and behavioural difficulties.

The School aspires to groom individuals to become independent and to lead comfortable and productive lives. 

‘I commend the hardworking staff for the tremendous work that they undertake in the running of this institution and in ensuring that individuals are trained to be law abiding, courteous and enterprising citizens – with the age of students ranging between 3 years to 30 years, one can imagine the difficulty in managing a classroom with varying levels of physically and mentally challenged abilities – thank you teachers, we appreciate all that you do for our special children’, Hon. Akbar commented. 

‘The Ministry of Education is aware of the need for early diagnosis of physically and mentally challenged students to ensure that they can access holistic, specialised therapy programmes which are beneficial for their physical, mental and academic development. 

Parents play an important role in the early diagnosis of disability in their children and I would encourage all parents to ensure that their children receive the intervention support and specialised education that they require early on, to increase their chances of being absorbed back sooner and excelling in the mainstream schools.  

The “work ready” programme for the vocational students is a wonderful initiative which students are doing well in and are finding meaningful employment through’, Minister Akbar stated.   

Minister Akbar reiterated the importance of working together to promote inclusivity in our communities, to embrace lifelong learning, and to gain a deeper appreciation for competing perspectives. ‘Together we can find effective and meaningful solutions to sustainably improving learning outcomes for our children, educators and schools’, Hon. Akbar emphasised. 

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