Speech at Panel on Education

III. Operation of special schools

Support for special school students

Members enquired about the number of students on the waiting list for special school/boarding places, and the average waiting time. The Administration advised that at present, only some students with moderate intellectual disability might need to wait for boarding places. With the completion of more boarding sections in these few years, the need of these students could be better catered.

Support for special school leavers

Members were concerned that many special school leavers were unable to find a job. To enhance special school leavers’ employability, members enquired whether special schools would provide students with career exploration courses in the curriculum to help them identify their interests, capabilities and needs; and enhance the service mode for sheltered workshops to better address the vocational training needs of special school students. Moreover, there was a suggestion that the Administration should strongly urge employers to increase placements for special school leavers or even legislate to safeguard their employment.

The Administration advised that special schools would offer support to their students in life planning according to their interests, capabilities and needs. In this connection, special schools had included elements such as job training and adjustment to future life in their school-based curriculum to help students experience the authentic work conditions. Practicum and visits would also be arranged for students to facilitate their adjustment to the workplace and social life. Besides, EDB, Vocational Training Council, Social Welfare Department (“SWD”) and Labour Department would organize briefing sessions for sharing with the representatives of special schools the latest information on the articulation pathways of special school leavers.