Speech by Mr Reginald Wee, SIF Division Director (Programmes), at the Launch of the Special Education Project – Phase 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam

Mr Nguyen Duc Huu, Deputy Director-General of Department of Primary Education,
Vice Head of the Steering Committee on Education for Disadvantaged Children and Children with Disability,
Ms Nguyen Thi Quy Suu, Permanent Secretary of the Steering Committee on Education for Disadvantaged Children and Children with Disability,
Dr Do Thi Minh Chinh, Vice Rector of the National College for Education,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Good morning and thank you for joining us to launch the second phase of the Special Education Project. We have had a successful start to the Singapore-Vietnam collaboration to enhance the skillsets of special education lecturers and teachers in Vietnam. Today, we renew our collective efforts to address the shared challenge of educating students with diverse abilities and needs.

Access to education is a key concern for many Vietnamese families with children with disabilities, and we certainly can do more to help the children lead independent lives. To this end, the Singapore International Foundation, or SIF, has been working with the National College of Education Hanoi, or NCE, to enable Vietnamese teachers to better manage children with special learning needs within classroom settings. In the first phase of the project, from 2010 to 2012, a team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) comprising special education practitioners trained 35 NCE lecturers in special needs early intervention. These NCE trainees then went on to train a wider pool of teachers, to eventually help Vietnamese children with a spectrum of developmental needs. This new chapter in our collaboration will build on that growth, growing the network of Singapore-Vietnamese special education practitioners, as well as between our peoples.

Over the next two years, our SIVs – Occupational and Speech Therapy experts – will help build a core group of 45 Vietnamese master trainers from NCE, to raise their capability in special education teacher training. Together, we will work toward incorporating practical Occupational and Speech Therapy teaching and intervention tools into daily classroom activities. These master trainers - lecturers in special education - will go on to train another 100 trainee teachers each year. Together with NCE, we will also organise professional knowledge sharing sessions to reach a wider Vietnamese special education community. This will raise awareness and create better understanding of Occupational and Speech Therapy as vital intervention components within the special education curriculum. Additionally, there will be a study visit to Singapore organised to promote knowledge exchanges and foster professional and personal networks between our policy-makers in special education, beyond the project.

Since 1994, Singaporeans and Vietnamese have come together through SIF programmes to share knowledge, skills and resources in areas as diverse as healthcare, education and social work. Through these collaborations, we have not only effected positive change but also strengthen ties and trust between our peoples by working together. This would not have been possible without the support of the NCE and the Ministry of Education and Training. We thank you for the privilege of working with you to uplift lives through education. We are also grateful to the team of Singapore specialist volunteers for contributing their time and efforts to this project.

As SIF pursues its mission to connect world communities, enable collaborations and effect positive change, we thank you for stepping forward to work with us to build a better world, one that is peaceful, inclusive and offers opportunities for all. I wish you all good discussions this afternoon.



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