EDUCATION Minister Anthony Garcia says all is being done to assist children with special needs in the education system.
"This ministry and this Government is cognizant of our responsibility where children who are afflicted with special needs are concerned and we are doing everything possible to ensure that their needs are taken care of adequately."
He was responding to a private motion in Senate Tuesday by Independent Senator Paul Richards in which he called on Government to commit to the allocation of adequate funding, reform of the appropriate legislation and revision of policies designed to ensure that all children with special needs are provided with equal educational opportunities and that the Education Ministry immediately initiate and implement and comprehensive strategy to assist all children with disabilities, additional learning needs and/or challenging behaviours.
Garcia said, while Richards' motion said Government had not provided special needs students with the requisite support networks and equal opportunities needed to achieve their full potential and there was a lack of adequate funding, policies and specialist staff which was reflected in the poor performance of students, Richards' presentation was different from his motion.
"It is simply because, from my estimation, in the back of Senator Richards' mind he is fully aware of what the Ministry of Education and this Government is doing in the field of education for this country."
He said the ministry has 13 Government and Government-assisted schools as well as 14 private schools which receive assistance.
He also said Richards spoke of the enshrined constitutional right of equality of treatment by public bodies.
"I don't know anywhere in the education system where students are deprived of equal treatment."
Garcia said officers of the Student Support Services visit schools regularly, every primary school had a professional and a number of secondary schools had one physically implanted at the school. He also said the ministry tried its best to provide sign language interpreters in primary and sometimes secondary schools.
"We are catering for the needs of all our students."