Parliamentary Question: 6 March 2019
Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Education (a) how many children from transnational families are currently receiving additional learning support or are enrolled in special education schools; and (b) whether language interpreters are engaged to support both the Singaporean and foreign spouse in their understanding of their child’s additional learning needs.
The Senior Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education (Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim) (for the Minister for Education): Sir, our schools provide additional support to all students who need them. However, we do not monitor the number of students from transnational families who receive the support from schools. As at February 2019, 129 students from transnational families out of a total of about 6,000 students attend our 19 SPED schools.
Partnering parents is an important part of delivering the customised curriculum and programmes in all schools. Schools have not reported difficulties connecting with parents even in the minority of cases where one parent may not speak any of our national languages. Where language is a barrier, they find ways to overcome it, such as enlisting the other parent, other family members, or school personnel who may know the family’s home language.
Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)
The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities.
She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion, environment — and volunteerism in Parliament.