Bandar Seri Begawan - A 'safety net' will be provided to special needs individuals at Pusat Bahagia in Kg Pulaie in terms of Rehabilitation in the Community or Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDK) after they leave the Centre.
The PDK intends to help disabled people gain access to education and training whilst also educating their parents.
This was revealed by Hj Ahad Hj Hassan, Acting Assistant Director of People with Special Needs (OBK) Division at the Community Development Department during a parents-and-guardians meeting last Tuesday over possible termination of guidance and training for some students with special needs at Pusat Bahagia.
"If they have the expertise in other fields, we will channel them to other agencies for further development. Hence, their welfare is still looked after and a channel will assist them to work in other agencies.
"Should they excel in entrepreneurship, we will channel them to such a sector. Visits will also be conducted to their homes to inspect its condition and assistance will be rendered should the house require repairs. We will also mind their welfare and help them to obtain wheelchairs or any assisting equipment if needed," he said.
The centre also lauded the involvement of non-government organisations (NGO) that hired special needs individuals to work at their respective businesses or act as volunteers at the centre.
Awg Md Nasrullah El-Hakiem bin Hj Awg Mohamed, Principal of Pusat Bahagia; Irnawati bte Hj Mahir, Community Development Officer and other senior officers were also at the event.
The officials also denied claims that some special needs students will be terminated immediately following their meeting with parents last Tuesday (Jan 15).
"The meeting was to inform parents about their activities at the centre and facilities offered once they leave Pusat Bahagia. They were also briefed on the possibility of terminating the guidance and training of some students.
"It is just a proposal and the meeting is aimed at obtaining feedback from parents. Only 17 attended and a decision has yet to be made.
"The termination will not be immediate as it involves several processes such as administrative work and cease of allowances. Those who face termination are in their 20's and some have not attended classes at the centre for a year.
"The basis behind such a decision is the overwhelming number of students we have but are short staffed especially with teachers. Consideration will be given to those wanting to stay but we will still provide a 'safety net' for them nonetheless," he said.
Parents contacted the Bulletin and expressed their discontent over the termination.
A parent also voiced his disappointment citing the move as a 'drastic' one by the centre and difficulties faced in finding an alternative place for his children.
"They could have announced this before the last school term in 2012. Parents have already bought new clothes including stationery items only to be told that their children's education has to come to an abrupt stop.
"We need sufficient preparation time to plan their next education, if there is any. Some parents also broke into tears during the briefing.
"We want the centre to delay their decision until the next school holidays or provide another programme for our special children.
"I am willing to pay for my child's education, should the need arise. How will I explain and relay this news to my child? I don't want them roaming around doing nothing after this," the parent said.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin