BIOTROP Deputy Director for Program Dr. Jess Fernandez facilitated a roundtable discussion on identifying issues and challenges, sharing best practices, and establishing collaborative options to better advocate special education held on 28 July 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. The activity was part of the First International Conference on Special Education (ICSE) held on 28-31 July 2015 which was co-organized by the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Special Education Needs (SEN), Office of the Basic Education of the Ministry of Education of Thailand, and the SEAMEO Secretariat.
The roundtable discussion was generally aimed at generating multi-sectoral approaches and work plans on promoting special education services for students with different disabilities as well as gifted children in Southeast Asia which SEAMEO SEN is expected to spearhead together with relevant partner-institutions worldwide. The activity was attended by 40 experts, practitioners, researchers, and government officials engaged in various aspects of special education from 9 countries in Southeast Asia, Australia, Hongkong , India, Japan, and the USA.
The ICSE was officially opened by Prof. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister. He congratulated the conference organizers for promoting awareness and better understanding of the conditions of children with special needs which could stimulate necessary policies and actions among concerned institutions towards building a more inclusive society in the region.
Outputs of the roundtable discussion formed part of the conference matters for action. This included that launching of a web-based Special Education Coordination Centre during the conference closing program. This web-based coordination centre was the initiative of SEAMEO Secretariat and SEAMEO SEN.