Vietnam and Singapore’s Special Education Compared with That of the United States’ The progress of special education (SPED) in Asia is varied in every country. Most of the influences regarding the education system come from developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom…
It is then noteworthy to look into the special education systems of these two countries and compare them with that of America’s. Regarding its history, Singapore’s SPED progressed irregularly. The major initiators were charitable organizations. As time passed, the government passed legislations and formed departments for proper facilitation. In 1947, Trafalgar Home was founded. It was for children with leprosy. In 1949, a center catering to crippled children was founded by the British Red Cross Society. By 1951, the same society also offered education for the deaf. After five years, a school was put up by the Association of the Blind. In 1957, there focus was given to those with cerebral palsy with the formation of Spastic Children’s Association. In 1962, the Singapore Association for Retarded Children (now known as Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) was created. This association widened the horizon of special education by not only involving those with physical and sensory needs but those with intellectual disabilities as well (Tan, “Education in Singapore: Special Needs). Concerning its government, Singapore was colonized by Britain in 1819. However, during World War II, it was captured by the Japanese. In 1945, it was freed by British soldiers. In 1946, Singapore became a separate crown colony. On June 3, 1959, it was made a self-governing state in the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1963, it joined Malaya, North Borneo, and Sarawak to form Malaysia. After two years, Singapore separated from Malaysia and became a sovereign state as well as a member of the United Nations. In the same year (1965), it was proclaimed as a republic (“History of Singapore Colonization”). As for Vietnam, there are no distinct SPED- related organizations in its history. The education in Vietnam during feudal and colonial periods lacked stability leading to haphazard structures. Traditionally, it is a country built on Confucian-oriented education. However, it was replaced by French-Vietnamese education during its colonization at the end of 19th and first half of 20th centuries. This kind of education immobilized the rights of the Vietnamese since it was for the purposes of serving the colonizers. During their independence in 1945, their president, Ho Chi Minh advocated against illiteracy and formed an education system towards independence and rehabilitation. Within a year, there were 75,000 literacy classes and almost 96,000 teachers serving 2.5 million citizens. Since then the government maintained a public education. However, during the US air force attacks in 1965-1972, a number of schools were destroyed. Gradually, education was much influenced by North-American domination. In April 1975, Vietnam’s regions were reunited and they were able to achieve full independence. Several reforms were made concerning education. Included in the changes from 1986 to 2005 was the categorization of learning activities corresponding to students’ abilities. Specialized schools were established for gifted children (“Education in Vietnam: Development History, Challenges, Solutions” 2). The United States’ SPED history when it comes to its legislation is quite ample. These developments are also valuable since other countries are adapting these provisions. In the early 1900s, its education system offered compulsory education. However, many children with special needs were not welcome in numerous schools. Most of the rights of children ...
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