Singapore-Vietnam to enhance special education for children with ASD

16:03 | 27/11/2019
The Teaching and Learning for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) project is expected to benefit at least 730 special education teachers and practitioners in Ho Chi Minh City. The project is also expected to positively impact present and future cohorts of children with ASD, and their parents and caregivers, from some 16 schools and three hospitals in the city.
singapore vietnam to enhance special education for children with asd
Singapore and Vietnam will collaborate to enhance the quality of special education for children with ASD

On November 26, the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), in partnership with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education (HCMUE) and Rainbow Centre Singapore (RCS), launched the Teaching and Learning for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) project in Ho Chi Minh City.

This capacity-building project aims to enhance the quality of special education for children with ASD in Ho Chi Minh City. SIF marks 10 years of collaboration with Vietnam in uplifting the lives of students with diverse abilities and needs through special education projects.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, a team of specialist from Singapore International Volunteers (SIV), comprising of a multidisciplinary group of special education professionals from RCS, will collaborate directly with 230 Vietnamese teachers to share knowledge, skills, and best practices in ASD. Out of this pool of Vietnamese teachers, 30 will be identified as master trainers (MT) and equipped with the skills to train peers in their field.

Several MTs will subsequently be selected as Advisors to oversee the future implementation of special education training across schools and affiliated institutions in Vietnam, ensuring the sustainability of the programme.

singapore vietnam to enhance special education for children with asd
Lee Huay Leng, governor, SIF, discussing with students

Trainees will undertake a series of workshops, a symposium, as well as a study visit to Singapore for cross-cultural learning and knowledge exchange. Parents and caregivers of children with ASD will also have the opportunity to join a public sharing session on supporting the developmental needs of their child.

At the end of the project, the company expects trainees to have improved their skills and knowledge including an increased in-depth understanding of the culture of autism and developing effective strategies for working with children with ASD.

This project in Ho Chi Minh City marks the SIF’s second special education initiative in Vietnam. It follows the success of an earlier project in Hanoi with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and National College of Education (NCE) on special education that ran for six years (Phase 1: 2010-2012 and Phase 2: 2015-2017). The Hanoi project saw a total of 75 special education practitioners grow into master trainers, who in turn cascaded their learnings to some 500 teachers in the field.

In 2017, Lee Hsien Loong, the wife of the Singaporean prime minister, visited the project to observe how the collaboration between SIVs and NCE staff had resulted in significant improvements made to services delivered to children with special needs in Vietnam. Overall, SIF’s special education projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will benefit more than 1,800 practitioners in the Vietnamese special education community by 2022.

Lee Huay Leng, governor of SIF, said, “SIF is pleased to embark on our latest special education project with Ho Chi Minh City University of Education and Rainbow Centre Singapore. We are bringing together Vietnamese and Singaporean professionals to share expertise and skills in special education to positively impact children with ASD in Ho Chi Minh City. This project also marks a new milestone in SIF’s efforts to strengthen mutual trust and understanding within the Vietnamese community at the people-to-people level.”

Associate professor Huynh Van Son, vice rector, HCMUE, said: “The Ho Chi Minh City University of Education is delighted to partner with SIF and RCS for this project. As ASEAN neighbours, we have come together to address a shared challenge – raising the quality of education for our children with special needs. We look forward to many more meaningful collaborations with our Singaporean friends in the years to come.”

singapore vietnam to enhance special education for children with asd

“Rainbow Centre is honoured to be able to share our experience and expertise with special needs educators beyond our shores. This is our way of paying it forward, similar to how we benefitted from the help of experienced practitioners over 30 years ago when we set up our first school for children with multiple disabilities. Our dream is that our work will lead to persons with disabilities leading empowered and thriving lives in inclusive communities, in Singapore, Vietnam, and beyond,” said Tan Sze Wee, executive director, RCS.

Since 1994, SIF has collaborated on a wide range of projects in the areas of healthcare, education, arts and culture, youth leadership, and social entrepreneurship with multi-sectoral Vietnamese partners. At the global level, this project contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education, specifically Goal 4C) and Goal 17 (Partnerships for sustainable development).

By Ha Vy

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