Categorized | National News

Special Needs Students Get Equitable Focus

By Licec Bastian
Journal Staff Writer

Parents of children with special needs will be happy to know that greater emphasis
will be placed on special education this academic school year, according to Education
Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin.
As education officials embark on curriculum reform, which is central to the goals the
ministry seeks to accomplish, Minister Hanna-Martin said, “I am proud that we are
bringing equitable focus to our children with special needs.”
“This year, the ministry has also recruited more speech pathologists, guidance
counsellors and school psychologists to give support to our students and to help them
progress and thrive,” Minister Hanna-Martin said in her back-to-school message this
past Sunday.
The Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training (MOETVT) has
designated classrooms in schools across the country for integrating children with
special needs; enabling education officials to eliminate a waiting list for placement of
students with special needs.
Back in December of 2022, MOETVT signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) with Barry University which offered scholarships to teachers for the
preparation of Master Teachers in the area of special education.
Minister Hanna-Martin, at the time of the signing, said it was a “very important”
initiative as it would help to address the “critical” shortage in special education.
“Once we begin to extend and build capacity, this will have tremendous impact on so
many young people who we have to say are falling between the cracks. We don’t want
our children to fall between the cracks. We want them to have every opportunity,
humanely possible, in our country to develop their full potential,” Minister Hanna-
Martin said during the signing.
“We believe that within 18-24 months we will begin to see the roll out of special
needs teachers who will be dispatched nationwide and be able to provide instruction
to children who may be at this moment off the radar for us.

“Twenty-two new Special Education teachers have been recruited and are now being
posted in schools throughout the country. An additional 14 teachers are near
completion of the Master’s Degree Program in Special Education with Barry
“Some of the teachers posted will start self-contained programs where the need
Minister Hanna-Martin also revealed that a wellness program in the public schools
started back in May of this year.
“That was spearheaded by a dynamic committee of personnel at the ministry to
address the needs of the whole child, by introducing a national health and wellness
initiative to augment the work of the guidance and counseling department; with a goal
to provide psycho-social help for students and staff,” Minister Hanna-Martin said.
“We are governed by the philosophical commitment that ‘Every Child Counts’and so
far, as is humanly possible and given the necessary resources, we will assure that each
child is given a fair opportunity to develop his or her potential.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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