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China to improve education for children with special needs

Updated: Nov 21,2017 moe.gov.cn Print

More than 95 percent of children with developmental, mental and physical disabilities in China will receive compulsory education by 2020, according to a plan jointly issued by the Ministry of Education and six other ministries.

The 2017-2020 plan aims to improve the coverage of compulsory education and make higher education more accessible for children with special needs.

The plan vows to enhance the quality of special education by employing more qualified special education teachers, establishing a nationwide system of special curriculum and teaching materials, and promote inclusive education at regular schools.

The plan emphasizes the country's "learning in a regular classroom" (LRC) project, under which children and children with mild to moderate disabilities are educated together at ordinary schools. According to the plan, LRC will become the main approach of special education by 2020, while special schools will become another crucial support. Homeschooling and distance education will also play a role, said the plan.

The plan calls for respect for individual differences and diversified development. It also says that the special needs of the children will be seen. The government will allocate more funds to improve special education and aid disabled students with financial problems, says the plan, which also encourages non-government and non-profit organizations to provide special education services to individuals with special needs.

According to the plan, district and county governments should confirm information of special-needs children at school age and make sure they receive compulsory education in regular schools, special education schools, child welfare organizations or through homeschooling. 

The governments should also select several mainstream schools in their district and county and help them establish resource rooms, a separate classroom where special-needs students are given specially taught and academic assistance by special education teachers, says the plan.

The district and county governments will set up a committee of experts in education, psychology, rehabilitation and social work to improve the admission assessment mechanism for children with special needs.

By 2020, at least one special education school should be set up in regions that have a population of more than 300,000 and a considerable number of children with special needs, according to the plan. The plan also encourages preschool institutions to enroll young children with disabilities and provide early intervention and training.

The plan vows to make high schools and vocational schools more accessible to individuals with special needs, by introducing LRC and setting up special education classes in high schools. Special-needs students who complete compulsory education and who are willing to further their education should receive suitable vocational education, says the plan.

Universities and further-education colleges should offer adult courses for individuals with disabilities. Illiterate individuals with disabilities should be taught reading and writing, according to the plan. The plan also encourages colleges and universities to expand enrollment of students majoring in special education.

This English version is only for reference. To learn more, please refer to the authoritative Chinese version: http://www.moe.gov.cn/srcsite/A06/s3331/201707/t20170720_309687.html

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