Special-needs students have dreams, but they often have a hard time continuing their education after finishing high school.
Sri Cahaya Ningsih, a mathematics teacher at the Santi Rama school for the handicapped, said that it was harder for students with special needs to continue their education because of the lack of universities that can accommodate them.
“There are students who continue their study to universities, but not many,” Sri said, saying that from the 20 students who took national examinations last year, only four continued on to universities.
“That is why we train them in life skills such as creating handicrafts, computer science, sewing, and cosmetics — so they can work independently,” she said.
Iim Mazkiyah, who teaches Indonesian language at the State School for Special Needs No. 1, or SLBN 1 Lebak Bulus, said that students with special needs not only need equipment to support their study but also teachers who can help them.
“Fresh graduate teachers are not ready to teach deaf students. This is a serious concern since these children need teachers who can communicate with them,” said Lany Gunawan of the Santi Rama Foundation.
“We usually train them for three months so that they can to communicate with our children later and also them various lessons related to special needs.”
Mudjito AKA, the Ministry of Education’s director for special education said that although students with special needs could continue their study in universities, they stood a better chance working in life-skills sectors.
Education Minister Muhammad Nuh said there are 1,500 schools nationwide for students with special needs.
“We also have a revitalization program that gives special service for students with special needs, starting from facilities to scholarships,” Nuh said.
He said monthly scholarships went from Rp 750,000 ($87) for one child to Rp 2.5 million for those who suffer from autism and need therapy.