E d u c a t i o n W H I T E P A P E R 6
When I announced the Implementation Plan for Tirisano, I noted with regret that our national and system-wide response to the challenge of Special Education would be delayed, but brought to the public as soon as we had analysed the comment on the Consultative Paper (Department of Education. Consultative Paper No. 1 on Special Education: Building an Inclusive Education and Training System. August 30, 1999). I am, therefore, glad to announce our response in this White
Paper. I am especially pleased that I have had the opportunity to take personal ownership of a process so critical to our education and training system which begun some five years ago in October 1996 with the appointment of the National Commission on Special Needs in Education and Training and the National Committee on Education Support Services. I say this because I am deeply aware of the concerns shared by many parents, educators, lecturers, specialists and learners about the future of special schools and specialised settings in an inclusive education and training system. They share these concerns because they worry about what kind of educational experience would be available to learners with moderate to severe disabilities in mainstream education. I understand these concerns, especially now, after I have observed what a difference special schools can make when they provide a quality and relevant learning experience.