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Dr. Majeed Khader


Chief Psychologist, Author and Adjunct Associate Professor (Honorary)

Dr Majeed Khader is a father of two children. Tasneem studies at NUS and Raouf (who has Autism) goes to a Day Activity Center (My Inspiring Journey). Majeed has tried to be an advocate for better support in Singapore for Autism and other disabilities. He believes we should do more to support post-18 adults with Autism in Singapore.

He is a Board Member of Rainbow Center, the Singapore representative of the ASEAN Autism Association and previously a Director with the Special Needs Trust Company. He was involved in training law enforcement and policymakers to understand the issues surrounding support for persons with disabilities when involved with the criminal justice system.

As an Adjunct Associate Professor at NUS and NTU (where he teaches and supervises criminal psychology), he continues researching to understand forensic disabilities and autism. He works full-time as Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Presentation Topic and Synopsis

Forging a Compassionate Meritocracy for Students with Special Needs

In Singapore, meritocracy is widely regarded as a “core principle of governance… and close as anything gets to being a national ideology” (Low, 2014). However, this has led to problems such as the creation of an elite class and a wide socioeconomic gap between those who have achieved and those who presumably have not.

In response to these problems, local political leaders have suggested that Singapore might benefit from a more nuanced iteration of meritocracy. For instance, the notion of a “compassionate meritocracy” was first espoused in 2013 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. It was recently mentioned again in June 2022 by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the Forward Singapore Exercise.

However, what does a “compassionate meritocracy” really mean and importantly, how might this benefit students with special needs? The accomplishments of these students will invariably differ from more traditional conceptions of merit. Furthermore, is it even possible for a meritocracy to be compassionate, and have we considered other alternatives (such as egalitarianism) sufficiently?

Join us at this panel discussion where we will hear from a group of thoughtful and experienced experts, teachers and parents on their views and perspectives of how we could begin to define an inclusive working model of a compassionate meritocracy for all Singapore students.

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