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  • 5/24/2018 Final Early Intervention


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  • 5/24/2018 Final Early Intervention



    This research study looks at the problem of literacy in Singapore. Although the

    resident population between 2001 and 2011 increased by 0.6 million, the literacy rate

    also increased by 0.6 million. Even after accounting for live births and deaths, this

    suggests that pari-passu, the literacy rate in Singapore has remained flat. In 2012, the

    Singapore government initiated a 5-year plan to improve the quality of living for

    persons with disabilities. Amongst those, are children at risk whom due to the lack of

    early detection and subsequent early intervention may become functionally illiterate

    Singapore residents.

    We begin our study into the nature of the global problem, then the research into why

    functional illiteracy is a problem, the various intervention programs that exist and

    then how Singapore is dealing with this issue and the plans that have been drawn to

    eradicate illiteracy.

    /0"1& *#"2,& '( "1& 3%'$#% 4,'$%&5Historically, reading instruction has been aimed at attaining either a low level of

    literacy for a large number of people or at a high level for an elite (Resnick &

    Resnick, 1977). The understanding that literacy is a human right is a relatively recent

    development with the creation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and

    Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1945. The goal of UNESCO was to prevent

    another world war though intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind (UNESCO,

    2012). Prior to the creation of UNESCO, there existed international organizations

  • 5/24/2018 Final Early Intervention


    comprised of select European countries focusing on regional co-operation and not on

    improving global education standards and access (Iriye, 2002).

    Nevertheless, although the attainment of quality education is an overarching

    UNESCO objective, UNESCO main priorities are Africa and gender equality

    (UNESCO, 2012). So, whilst UNESCO acts as an advisory board, the responsibility

    for eradicating illiteracy or improving educational standards amongst the world

    population to create functionally literate citizens remains squarely on the shoulders of

    the respective governments. This state of affairs creates a problem.

    The nature of the global problem is that:

    E0 *F GFHGIJKLMN ONPLHLQLFH NRLKQK FH STEQ PJHGQLFHEI ILQNUEGV LK-There is no conclusive definition on the level of literacy required to be a functionally

    literate person (Bishop, 1991; Draper et al., 2010) so there is even conflict in the

    educational field between language specialist (e.g. language teachers) and content-

    area specialists (e.g. science teachers). Draper (2010) elaborates that language

    specialist view functional literacy as competence in the correct usage of the

    language whilst content-area specialists view functional literacy as the ability to

    understand the content without too much regard to the manner in which a language

    is used to express ideas. Nitri (2009) after comparing works by various researchers

    (Freir, 1970; Hagel and Tudge, 1998; Kozol, 1985; Slaughter-Defoe and Richards,

    1995; Street, 1993; Venezky, 1990; Wagner, 1993) argued that literacy should no

    longer be confined to reading and writing but reflect the criteria for political,

    social, religious and economic relevance and expectations.

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    As we need to make comparisons across different educational environments, we will

    use the World Literacy Foundation definition that a person with functional literacy is

    a person that has the basic ability to read and write but of insufficient standard to

    make informed choices or participate in every day life (Cree, Kay, & Steward,

    2012). The key issue here is that functional literacy would then depend on the local

    environment, which suggests that functional literacy in a developed country e.g.

    Singapore due to the greater complexity in life would be different from that in rural


    W0 *F XLHLXJX NOJGEQLFHEI KQEHOEUOK NRLKQK PFU PJHGQLFHEI ILQNUEGVThere are no minimum educational standards for children whether in mainstream or

    special schools (Mills, 2008). The lack of educational standards suggests that the

    expansion of low quality education could worsen the distribution of income especially

    in places like Asia (Richards, Leonor, International Labour Office, & World

    Employment Programme, 1981). Countries with low quality education systems

    therefore will always lag economically behind those with superior systems, as they

    cannot harness the benefits of twenty-first century technological advancements.

    UNESCOs limited funding sources also mandates that it can only act as liaison for

    other global funding organizations that perform the actual execution and

    implementation of programs (Wickens & Sandlin, 2007). Thus the primary global

    organization for promoting education has bark but no bite.


    The financial resources and expertise required to improve standards depend on donor

    nations and or government self-initiatives. All of which are political driven and may

    therefore not meet the educational needs of the children at risk (Mills, 2008).

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    O0 +GTFFI KVKQNXK GEH ZNUZNQJEQN LIILQNUEGV QTUFJYT IEG[ FP PEXLIV EKKLKQEHGNThe failure of the school system to equip parents especially mothers with the

    necessary skills to help their children to attain advanced literacy skills is a key

    consideration (Cooter, 2006; Rosow, 1991). This suggestion is supported by Baydar

    & Brooks (1993), where over a 20-year period, they surveyed 202 US minority

    families. Their conclusion was that the primary predictors of functional illiteracy are

    maternal education, maternal marital status, and family size in early childhood. So

    families with mothers who had poor education with large families tend to have

    children with poor literacy skills. So unless the school system undertakes to assist

    families especially mothers to improve their parenting skills, many children will not

    benefit from any intervention program.


    Apart from time constraints, competing needs and motivation to pursue a course of

    study, Knowles (M.S. Knowles, 1984; Malcom S. Knowles, 1970), suggested that

    adult learning styles (andragogy) are different from that of a child (pedagogy)

    resulting in differences and more difficulties in teaching adults:

    i. An adults self-concept is different from that of a child so thattheir emotional and psychological needs are different leading to

    dissimilar responses to intervention.

    ii. Adults have a reservoir of experience that they can bring to theirlearning that may include bias or beliefs that are in contraction

    with learned theories and facts.

    iii. Adults are ready to learn. He prophesies that children tend to beunwilling to learn unless they have been motivated to do so

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    through either reward or punishment (constructivist approach to


    iv. Adults have a problem-centered approach to learning whereaschildren have a subject-centered approach due largely to their

    reservoir of experiences.

    v. Adults are motivated to learn by internal factors such as increasingfamily wealth through education rather than external factors such

    as social or cultural pressures.

    Although Knowles (1979, 1984) did not view his andragogy as antithetical to

    pedagogy but parallel, several researchers (Reynolds, Temple, White, Ou, &

    Robertson, 2011) suggest that the economic advantages of any intervention to teach

    children tend to outweigh that of teaching adults.


    E0 &GFHFXLG NPPNGQK FP PJHGQLFHEI LIILQNUEGVReynolds et al (2011) examined a cohort of 1,400 group participants Child Parent

    Centers (a Chicago program set up to provide services to low income families) and

    contends that over a 26 year period, based on 2007 US dollars, each dollar spent on

    the preschool program yielded a total return to society of 18% annual ($10.83 per

    dollar invested) whilst the school-age program had a total return of 10%. So by

    inference, this research suggests that governments are more interested in improving

    literacy standards amongst children because of a better economic cost-benefit

    analysis. However, there are noted limitations in this study:

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    i. The teaching quality was high. Certified teachers ran small classes andintegrated services between the pre-school an school-age years.

    ii. Some estimates regarding earnings were based on projected instead ofactual earnings due to the lack of income tax information.

    iii. There are likely to be unrecorded economic benefits due to greaterfamily involvement, educational attainment for parents and lower

    health costs that has led to less crime, lower disease risk and better


    Other researchers such as Cree et al (2012), using their own independent research on

    different populations samples, have suggested that the effects of functional illiteracy

    are people trapped in a cycle of poverty with limited opportunities for employment

    or income generation and higher chances of poor health, turning to crime and

    dependence on social welfare or charity (if available)".

    W0 +FGLEI LXZEGQ FP PJHGQLFHEI LIILQNUEGVThe World Bank estimates that about 15 percent of the worlds population lives with

    some form of disability. Of this number, between 110 million and 190 million adults

    have significant difficulties in functioning (World Health Organization, 2011). The

    World Literacy Foundation (Cree et al., 2012) estimates that the lack of functional

    literacy will cost the global economy about US$1.19 trillion. Singapore is estimated

    to lose at least US$6.29 billion on a GDP of 314.50 billion (2% of GDP). The UK,

    which had recently concluded a study on functional literacy within the country,

    estimates that they will lose US$ 127 billion on a GDP of US$2,250 billion (5.6%).

    However Wagner (2011) has concluded that the absence of common measures and the

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    lack of openness amongst governments mean that there is no clear way to measure the

    economic loss due to functional illiteracy.

    G0 7HTNUNHQ WLEKHNKK QFSEUOK SNKQNUH 7ONEIK FP PJHGQLFHEI ILQNUEGVYet as more and more research emerges that there is an economic case for

    intervention to prevent functional illiteracy amongst children (Castello-Climent &

    Hidalgo-Cabrillana, 2012; Committee for Economic Development, 2006; Lutz,

    Cuaresma, & Sanderson, 2008), there have been critics of universal education who

    suggest that literacy education has often been used for oppression (Luke, 2003;

    Marchand, 2010; Stromquist, 2002). Using socio-political reasoning they opined that

    UNESCO programs are neo-colonistism in nature because the largest donor (the US)

    prescribed their own western paradigm of what constitutes functional literacy such as

    promoting English as the lingua franca without adequately considering local socio-

    economic and cultural conditions.

    A more plausible reason that Western educational programs and English are adopted

    is that there is a natural gyration by developing countries towards the education

    systems espoused by developed countries (who use English as the lingua franca) in

    order to increase mutual economic benefit. Neely (2012) points out that one in four

    people speaks English and it has become the corporate language for many

    multinational corporations. So although English is used by Asian governments and

    perhaps also other countries as a way to speed up national development, a way of

    understanding other cultures and a tool for international communications (B.-M.

    Chang, 2011), we will still review the effectiveness of local measures to eradicate

    functional illiteracy where English may not be the lingua franca.

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    .07*"&,*#"7'*#% 7*"&,>&*"7'* 4,'3,#5+ "' 4,&>&*"(2*)"7'*#% 7%%7"&,#);

    E0 )JUUNHQ 5NEKJUNK EUN LHNPPNGQLMN QF &UEOLGEQN (JHGQLFHEI 7IILQNUEGVApart from the US (Individuals with Disabilities Act, 2004; The Elementary &

    Secondary Education Act, 1965) and UK (Education Act, 1996; Equality Act, 2010;

    Disability Discriminatory Act, 1995), many other countries have also implemented

    education laws to promote functional literacy. Even so UNESCO predicts that

    functional illiteracy may not be eradicated according to plan in 2015 (UNESCO,

    2012). The nature of the problem suggests that more must be done than to legislate

    the building of schools and the creation of an education system. We will first define

    what early intervention is and interject the Guralnick framework (2001, 2011) to

    review why current measures have been ineffective.

    W0 :NPLHLQLFH FP &EUIV 7HQNUMNHQLFHShonoff and Meisels (Shonkoff & Meisels, 2000) defined early intervention as

    multidisciplinary services provided to children from birth to 8 years of age with the

    following goals:

    (1)To promote child health and well being;(2)Enhance emerging competencies;(3)Minimize developmental delays;(4)Remediate existing or emerging disabilities;(5) Prevent functional deterioration and;(6) Promote adaptive parenting and overall family functioning.

    The early intervention services are provided via:

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    (1)The provision of individualized developmental, educational andtherapeutic services for children and;

    (2)In conjunction with mutually planned support for their families.G0 4UNOLGQLHY EHO 4UNMNHQLHY (JHGQLFHEI LIILQNUEGV LH )TLIOUNH

    Illiteracy is due to the inability to read and write. Reading and writing are inexplicitly

    linked (Roskos, Tabors, & Lenhart, 2009) therefore a child who cannot read is

    unlikely to be able to write. It is suggested that reading abilities amongst children is

    stable over time (Badian, 1995; Biemiller, 2006; K. G. Butler, 1988; S. R. Butler,

    Marsh, Sheppard, & Sheppard, 1985). McCadle et al (2001) suggests that 5-10

    percent of US children who read English well in the first few grades ever have

    difficulties later and the majority (65-75 percent) of those children who have reading

    difficulties will continue to do so in adult life. Chung and Ho researched children

    who had reading challenges in Chinese, a non-alphabetical language and conceded

    that less extensive research had been done in early intervention in this area (Chung &

    Ho, 2009, p. 195). This means that there is less evidence-based therapy for identified

    children at risk because of the neurological differences in learning non-alphabetic and

    alphabetic languages (Teoh, Brebner, & McCormack, 2012).


    Guralnick (2011) espoused the Developmental Systems Approach (DSA), which was

    an expansion of his earlier works. He suggested that:

    (1)At the first level, attention should focus on the developmentalrequirements of the child.

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    (2)At the second level, the DSA would focus on the environmentinfluences e.g. family interaction that would support the childs social

    and cognitive competences and finally,

    (3)At the third level, would be to identify the family resources that areavailable to support family interaction.

    In earlier works Guralnick (2001) had designed an early intervention system that can

    be used to screen for children with learning challenges.

    Source: Guralnick (2001) Developmental System Approach

    We will combine the Guralnick DSA with research by Chia and Wong (2010) who

    say that there are six levels of learning challenges that any screening system should be

    able to capture.

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    Chia and Wong (2010) Table of Learning Challenges

    Each of the learning challenges listed above can lead to functional illiteracy. These

    challenges can be due to biological, neurological, physical impairments or the

    external environment.

    There were many countries that had implemented early intervention screening but

    tailored towards detecting biological or neurological impairments (Guralnick, 2001, p.

    6). Most underdeveloped and developing countries still relied on parent response to

    informal survey questionnaires to screen children at risk rather than using the

    appropriate clinical and diagnostic services (Gottlieb, Maenner, Cappa, & Durkin,

    2009; Phillips, 2012) and there were perceived differences between government

    funding and public acceptance of early childhood services. Others, like China have

    also been using western diagnosis programs without normalization to local standards

    (such as the Gesell Development Schedule and the Denver Development screening)

    for their Early Childhood Care and Education program (Chiang & Hadadian, 2010).

    Obviously there would be many false-positives, resulting in many Chinese children at

    risk being ignored.

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    The situation can be summarized by the tables above showing the results of a survey

    conducted at the 2009 World Forum on Early Care and Education (Neugebauer &

    Goodeve, 2009). Only Austria, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom had

    provided perceived significant government funding and majority public recognition of

    the importance of early childhood services. Perceived, because no prima farcie

    evidence was required to sustain their assertions but it shows the level of commitment

    to eradicating illiteracy.


    The absence of registries in most low- and middle- income countries meant that many

    children may neither be identified nor receive needed services (Phillips, 2012). There

    is also contention that screening instruments designed to identify children at risk have

    limited predictive validity (Catts, Petscher, Schatschneider, Bridges, & Mendoza,

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    2009). The problem lies in that different children in different countries develop at

    different rates of learning. Therefore they may be that same chronological age used

    for testing but many may still be developing the skills that are being tested.

    Couple this with the generally low population acceptance of early childhood services

    means that the second and third levels of the Guralnick DSA cannot be implemented

    in many countries for identifying children at risk from learning disabilities.

    Guralnicks family interaction (Level 2) depends on strong acceptance that early

    childhood services are critical (Neugebauer & Goodeve, 2009) and Guralnicks

    family resources (Level 3) are dependent on many governments who are currently not

    giving financial subsidies or support to parents (Cleaver & Nicholson, 2007, p. 19).

    Diagnosing children at risk based on Chia and Wong (2010) levels of learning

    disabilities is also unlikely to be done. This does not mean to say that countries do not

    cater to children with special needs. A briefing document by the UK Qualifications

    and Curriculum Authority (Pepper, 2007) provides details of worldwide special

    schools, the diagnosis, the early intervention strategies, and their assessment criteria

    for what is considered appropriate education so there are countries (generally

    developed countries according to Pepper) that have implemented Guralnick DSA


    Tackling the nature of the problem is not helped by the different survey designs used

    by UNICEF (Gottlieb et al., 2009, p. 1834) and UNESCO (Wagner, 2011, p. 322).

    Data inconsistencies have meant that UN and World Bank assistance may not be

    directed towards those countries with children most at risk from learning disabilities.

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    @0)2,,&*" 7*"&,>&*"7'* 4,'3,#5+ "' 4,&>&*"(2*)"7'*#% 7%%7"&,#); #5'*3+" +7*3#4',& )17%:,&*

    #" ,7+9

    E0 )JUUNHQ 5NEKJUNK EUN LHNPPNGQLMN QF &UEOLGEQN (JHGQLFHEI 7IILQNUEGVIn comparison with the US and the UK, Singapore does provide compulsory

    education (Compulsory Education Act, 2000) but unlike the two countries, has no

    statutory requirements to provide for children with learning disabilities.

    Trough a series of Master Plans (Tan et al., 2012), Singapore has statistically been

    gradually able to increase the functional literacy rate. Ninety-six percent of the adult

    population out of a total resident population of 3.8 million is considered to be literate

    in 2011, from ninety-three percent in 2000 when the resident population size was 3.2

    million (Singapore Statistics, 2011). These numbers are not reassuring. The

    Singapore resident population grew by 0.6 million. The number of literate citizens

    also grew by 0.6 million. Even if we deduct the deaths (about 180,000 over 10 years)

    and add live births (about 390,000 over 10 years) and adjust for years of schooling

    (156,000 children would have 1 year or more), Singapores declining fertility rate

    means that the increase in population is mainly due to literate foreigners gaining

    residency. It suggests that, pari-passu, there was insignificant growth in literacy

    between 2000 and 2011.


    All Singapore born children that are registered at birth are screened using the Denver

    Developmental Screening Test DDST Singapore and thereafter a comprehensive

    series of pediatric visits to monitor the childs growth. There are also comprehensive

  • 5/24/2018 Final Early Intervention


    diagnosis and screening in place in both public and private medical facilities (Ho,

    2007). Screening for learning disabilities can be carried out as early as kindergarten

    (Yeo, Neihart, Tang, Chong, & Huan, 2011) although this is not the norm but

    assessment is also done at primary school level (Daruwalla, 2005). Thus to a large

    extent, in Singapore, Guralnick DSA framework is in place.

    i. There are formal screening processes in place (Guralnick Level 1) focusing onthe developmental needs of the child from birth to 8 years (Early Intervention

    Program for Infants and Children) and Developmental Support Program (DSP)

    to screen for and cater to the different levels of learning challenges described

    by Chia and Wong (2010);

    ii. There is a government sponsored initiative to involve family (Guralnick Level2) and;

    iii. The government provides financial resources (Guralnick Level 3) (MSFMinistry of Social and Family Development, 2012a).

    Relative to the nature of the problem, Singapore has:

    i. Defined literacy in through the objectives by the Ministry of Education (MOE)(Barr & Skrbis, 2008).

    ii. Created the minimum standard for education with different pathways for bothmainstream and special students to achieve functional literacy (Ministry of

    Education, 2012a).

    iii. Provided family assistance to help children at risk (MSF Ministry of Socialand Family Development, 2012a).

    iv. Promote adult education (Institute for Adult Learning Singapore, 2012,Ministry of Education, 2012b).

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    However, the educational objectives may be politically driven as shown by the MOE

    desired outcome for students to believe in Singapore and understand what matters to

    Singapore (Ministry of Education, 2012c). The Singapore government does not

    provide direct support services but operates through Volunteer Welfare Organizations

    (VWO) and community self-help organizations. VWO provide support for special

    needs students with some funding from the government but need to cover any

    additional requirements through charity (NCSS National Council of Social

    Services, 2012). Community based self-help organizations such as Yayasan

    Mendaki for the Malay Community, Chinese Development Assistance Committee

    (CDAC) for the Chinese community and the Singapore Indian Development

    Association (SINDA) for the Indian community also depend on charity to carry out

    their missions. By and large, these organizations were all set up to address the

    pressing educational and socio-economical issues facing Singaporeans (Chinese

    Development Assistance Committee, 2012, Singapore Indian Association, 2012,

    Yayasan Mendaki, 2012).

    The government does exercise direct control and support in mainstream schools.

    Early Intervention in primary schools takes the form of learning support programs

    with all school entrants screened for learning disabilities. Children who are

    underachievers by the end of their first year are included in the Encouraging

    Achievement and Better Learning Program (ENABLE). Supplementary behavior

    management and learning support are provided by Allied Educators (Learning and

    Support Behavior), Teachers trained in Special Needs (TSNs) and specialists from the

    MOE such as Language and Speech Therapists (LSTs) and Educational

    Psychologists (Ministry of Education, 2012d). But there are gaps.

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    B03#4+ 7* "1& 7*"&,>&*"7'* 4,'3,#5+ 7* +7*3#4',&E0 4FQNHQLEI HJXWNU FP GTLIOUNH EQ ULK[

    A study by Chang (2001) extrapolating from UK statistics estimates that 5- 8 percent

    (incidence rate) of each primary school cohort has learning disabilities. Of this

    number, she suggested that more than half of the each cohort had not been identified

    and supported in 2001. Childrens parents rather than the formalized screening system

    detected most children with learning disabilities. However, Changs estimates are still

    below those figures provided by the Ministry of Heath (MOH) and MOE (diagram).

    This may suggest deficits in our formalized screening program as we are not

    identifying as many children at risk as the US and UK.

    W0 7KKJNK UNIEQNO QF 7HGIJKLFH 4FILGVResearch suggests that inclusion is the best way to improve educational performance

    (Anderson, Klassen, & Georgiou, 2007). Yeo et al (2011) identified 3 gaps to

    educating children with learning disabilities under the MOE inclusion policy

    (Ministry of Education, 2012d):

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    i. Person related hindrances such as family problems and negativeperception of needs and inclusion of special needs children in

    mainstream schools by some teachers, principals and parents. Teachers

    and principals frequently believe that the school facilitates and teacher

    training are inadequate to assist these children. Parents are sometimes

    biased against inclusion, as they believe learning disabilities to be

    infectious or taboo to discuss.

    ii. Principals and teachers felt that the large class size meant that theyneeded to firstly control themselves, then the class and finally the

    student with learning disabilities. This structural issue was also quoted

    as a hindrance to effective education by other researchers (Hornstra,

    Denessen, Bakker, van den Bergh, & Voeten, 2010; Thaver & Lim,

    2012; Toh-Heng, 2005).


    The short duration of 6 weeks therapy for each child in the Therapy

    Outreach Program (TOP) to help children at risk in mainstreams

    school was too short.

    iv. Teacher training was insufficient. Students benefited from the supportclasses but did not show academic improvement. A study of the

    effectiveness of learning support program in a Singapore primary

    school showed that students under the Allied Educator program gained

    significant reading skills but did not improve significantly when it

    came to academic success (Yang, 2004).


    Poon (2012), has suggested several other gaps:

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    i. Insufficient early intervention support in early intervention centers andmainstream schools. Children with delayed development in early childhood

    are not getting early intervention programs quickly enough whilst those in

    mainstream schools are not receiving sufficient support and intervention. The

    mean age of children referred to EIPIC centers is 35.8 months compared to the

    US where it is 15.5 months (MSF Ministry of Social and Family

    Development, 2012a, p. 9).

    ii. There is no central authority to issue industry standards for VWOs to ensurequality of standards and thus no system to monitor child and family outcomes.

    Nonetheless, a draft framework was issued in 2011 by MOE, NCSS and

    VWOs operated Special Education (SPED) Schools (MSF Ministry of Social

    and Family Development, 2012b).

    iii. The transition process is fragmented with no clear Early Intervention (EI)Service Delivery model. At best, using the Harbin and West model (1998),

    Singapore EI services are loosely coupled but generally they are single

    programs with no co-ordination between different agencies.

    iv. There is a lack of respite care and inadequate family-centered practices, whichmeans that children at risk are subjected to greater stress.

    A-4,'4'+&: #)"7'*E0 5EKQNUZIEH PFU &HEWINO %LMLHY 6?/6\6?/AThe government has proposed a Master Plan to improve the situation (MSF Ministry

    of Social and Family Development, 2012a). The MSF will embark on a life course

    approach summarized in the diagram below.

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    Source: MSF Ministry of Social and Family Development, 2012a

    W0 4IJYYLHY 7ONHQLPLNO 3EZKIn summary, the MSF has identified cross cutting issues that affect all persons with

    learning disabilities across their lifetime:

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    (MSF Ministry of Social and Family Development, 2012a, p. vi viii)

    G0 5LKKLHY &INXNHQKThis looks like a good plan. However, there are many elements that need to be

    considered such as the social landscape (peoples attitudes towards involvements,

    inclusion etc. need to change) and the ability of the infrastructure and support

    (building of school facilitates, training of teachers, increase in social workers etc.) to

    effectively accommodate this 5-year plan. If the flat growth in literacy rate between

    2001 and 2011 is anything to come by, it suggests that the underlying socio-political-

    economic issues may be much deeper and more difficult to eradicate than this master

    plan suggests. A key example of this phenomenon, being the failure of educational

    reforms, in France and Germany in the 1980s (Weiler, 1989). Both countries tried to

    maximize political gains from educational reforms whilst trying to minimize the

    political costs. The social opposition to reformation of the French and German

    systems can be likened to the barriers posed by educators resistant to further

    inclusion, parents resistant to their child being labeled and paralysis of the family

    involvement program as professionals, social workers and VWOs are stretched

    beyond their capacity due to the short timeframe given to make things happen.

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    =-%LXLQEQLFHKThis research study has serious limitations. Due to the need for brevity and

    conciseness, many arguments for and against eradicating functional illiteracy may not

    have been adequately discussed or investigated. Nonetheless, every effort has been

    made to present the different researchers arguments in the same manner that they

    have been made.

    D-)FHGIJKLFHLiteracy has been defined in many ways. It is a human right that unfortunately has

    been stonewalled by political, social and economic considerations that have prevented

    clear direction by the UN or its sanctioned entities. The plight is felt by the low- and

    middle - income countries where they lack the functional literacy to compete with

    developed nations. Thereby always being a step behind in wealth accumulation.

    Singapore, on the other hand, recognizes that functional literacy is key to continued

    prosperity and has embarked on an ambitious 5-year master plan to rectify the gaps

    that existed before. Nevertheless, whether they will succeed or not may be dependent

    on elements that may not have be adequately identified. These elements that may

    have stalled the growth of literacy amongst Singapore residents since 2001 can

    provide fertile grounds for further research.

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