Push to extend training for disabled

Local | Jane Cheung 18 Feb 2019

A job training center for the disabled should go back to three-year programs, a grouping of trainers, parents and lawmakers says.

The Shine Improvement Program Alliance surveyed 484 people with an interest in the Shine Skills Center to gain ideas.

Eighty-seven percent said training programs should last for three years so students can learn more comprehensively and establish longer relationships with employers who cooperate with the center.

Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said the center used to offer three-year programs but cut them to two years after 2003. Besides pushing for a return to the three-year format he suggested there be a system for students to re-enroll in a program, defer study periods or even switch to another faculty if a program does not suit them.

Cheung also said there is a need for more teachers to restore a teacher-student ratio of one to 12.

A teacher named Lui said some students had special needs, such as those with autism. "So with more teachers we can split into smaller classes."

Lui said too there is a need for more teaching assistants. They could assist students who fall behind to catch up.

Cheung is also concerned about an official employment policy for disabled citizens and called for the government and statutory organizations to take the lead in hiring.

"The government said social enterprises are very willing to hire disabled citizens, but it didn't give more resources or space for development for non-governmental organizations," he said. The job training center for disabled teens will be back near its current site in Kwun Tong after a redevelopment project starting in 2021 is completed around 2025. Its old location will be occupied by a civil servants' training school. During the 2021-2025 period the center will have premises on Oxford Road, Kowloon Tong, but Cheung worries about a lack of space.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.cpom

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