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Breaking Barriers in Special Needs Education

How Newcastle Australia’s Master’s program is changing lives

Disabled. Disruptive. Not smart enough to ‘keep up’ with the rest.

Have you ever heard of – or even thought of – these terms when describing individuals with special needs?

These, and many other harsh, harmful labels, are just some of the many perceptions that the general public can have of special needs individuals.

But that’s not a fair, or even accurate, description of many of these individuals. According to SG Enable, people with special needs make up around 13% of the resident adult population in Singapore. Of that, over 30% of those with special needs or disabilities are employed.

People with special needs can unlock their full potential, living rich social and professional lives, and contributing to Singapore’s society.

The secret, however, is in that extra amount of guidance and assistance that allows them to tap into their full capabilities.

Today, there is a total of 20 special education (SPED) schools in Singapore, and each offers personalised learning programs that cater to different disability groups of children.

In an uncertain and ever-changing world, the education landscape for special needs individuals must keep up – and make it more accessible to both students, and educators.

How the Master of Special and Inclusive Education is Empowering Access in Special Needs Education

 Leading the charge for special needs education, The University of Newcastle Australia is offering a unique Master of Special and Inclusive Education program in Singapore.

The program is designed for educators and other professionals already working in special or inclusive education looking for something ‘more’.

It provides specialised skills and advanced knowledge so educators can support children and adolescents with special needs. By combining the latest research with practical coursework, the program equips students with evidence-based approaches and strategies to address diverse learning needs and promote students’ learning and social functioning.

As the co-convenor for the Master of Special and Inclusive Education at Newcastle Australia, Dr Carl Leonard has spent the course of his career maximising outcomes for all students. For the past 30 years, he has been one of the strongest advocates for inclusivity and diversity in public education.

“Access to quality learning should be the right of all students regardless of socioeconomic status, ability or location,” Dr Leonard said.

Based in Australia, Dr Leonard was in Singapore recently and shared his insights on how Singapore needs to reimagine the future of special needs education in an uncertain world, highlighting how real inclusivity in education is, unfortunately, rare.

One suggestion he gave on how we can change this is by plugging the training and education gap among teachers and practitioners who are at the heart of helping those with special needs fulfil their potential.

That is what the Master of Special and Inclusive Education offers.

By nurturing the next generation of educators for special needs students, the program helps break barriers in special needs education and make it more accessible to all. 


Empowering Educators: Practical Strategies for Supporting Children with Additional Needs

 Dr Leonard explains the top reasons why passionate individuals should pursue the Master of Special and Inclusive Education.

“If you’re a teacher or an educator working in special and inclusive education sectors, our program will help you on your journey towards professional excellence,” he explained. “The Master of Special and Inclusive Education is designed to be robust and enriching, yet fun and flexible. You will be on a learning journey to enhance your knowledge and expertise, and come away with a highly-regarded advanced professional qualifications.”

Dr Leonard explained that the University has specifically created these courses for the Singapore context to support students in meeting the needs of the special needs students in their care.


Removing Barriers to Learning: A Flexible Program Delivery Mode for All Walks of Life

Flexibility could possibly be the best part of the Master of Special and Inclusive Education offered by Newcastle Australia.

For starters, the program offers a part-time option, as well as on and off campus learning, allowing students to balance work, life, and study commitments.

The program is open to educators, allied health professionals, and those who work with children with special needs. Study grants of up to 50% of course fees are available to qualified students, making the program a smart investment for those seeking to take their knowledge and capabilities in this growing field to a higher level.

Interested in breaking barriers in special needs education? Applications for the Master of Special and Inclusive Education are now open. More information on the program can be found here, or through Education Consultants at