“I love to work in the Christian organization; I am not leaving Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC) but serving in a different post. Although I have left the Methodist Care Centre (MCC), I am still attached to the Board for the Disabled,” responded Chew Siok Cheng, the outgoing Director of MCC.
Starting from 2017, Siok Cheng would close a chapter as a care giver and begin her new career as a trainer for caring teachers at Methodist Pilley Institute (MPI). “After realizing my job at MCC has become a comfort zone for me and MPI has been ‘pestering’ me to join them, I felt that I could help to train more caring teachers as a lecturer to nurture them to serve the disabled. So I made my decision to leave the Care Centre as it has grown into a well-organized entity for the needy. Integrated Education is her goal and she sees much potential in this area within SCAC kindergartens and nursery schools.
“Integrated Education is to teach disabled children together with normal children in the same classroom so that this special group will be able to participate and learn in a normal education environment. Integration is to link the special education and general education into a single system. This has been an international trend and adopted by many countries such as Canada, USA, West Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and so on.
“Special children are not difficult to teach, what we need is the skill to teach them. If all the kindergarten teachers are equipped with this special skill, their future approach will be different. Special Education is thus a pressing training program in the hope of extending further service to these special children in our society.”
At the moment, kindergartens that practise the integrated education system are: Xin Fu Yuan MC Kindergarten, Methodist Chinese Kindergarten and Sing Ang MC Kindergarten in Sibu; Pending Methodist Kindergarten in Kuching. Sze Hua Kindergarten in Sarikei on the other hand is providing Early Intervention Program.
Siok Cheng honestly said that she preferred children to teenagers and she hated marking test papers; But she is willing to adapt and believes that God is leading her path! “I hope that MPI will open up certificate course for Special Education to help Pre-school teachers better equipped and to promote Integrated Education to be part of the education system.”
Interviewed by April
Translated by Christina