I believe special education (SPED) should be integrated in the basic and secondary curriculum in the country.
And while at it, study sign language as well.
In an order from the Department of Education (DepEd), special needs education should have been institutionalized in all schools. All divisions should organize at least one SPED Center and all districts should organize SPED programs in schools.
Local trainings should also be initiated at the regional, division, and district levels. They should be conducted by the identified Regional Trainors in Special Education.
The supervisors, administrators, and teachers implementing the SPED programs will be receiving incentives. The Special Education Division of the Bureau of Elementary Education will be providing technical assistance to all the regional offices that would implement the program from SY 1997-1998.
In practice, though, SPED is only taught in a special school.
There is also neither a SPED public school nor center for secondary education in Nueva Vizacaya, Tarlac, Batangas, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Siquijor, Biliran, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, Isabela City, Zamboanga del Norte, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Ifugao, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Malabon, Marikina, Navotas, San Juan, and Taguig.
And in areas with a SPED public school or center, public schools are till high school only.
Of course, there could be the argument that the divisions and districts are also considering the population before putting up schools.
Institutionalizing schools for Filipinos without disabilities is also already a problem.
In a study released by the Philippine Statistics Authority last January 10, 2013, 1,443 thousand persons or 1.57 percent of the 92.1 million household population have disabilities in the country.
Low vision is the most common disability and Region IV-A has the highest number of PWDs.
There are more Filipino men with disabilities than Filipino women age 0 to 64 years old. But generally, the condition is at its highest among Filipinos age 5 to 19 years old.
As such, the inclusion of SPED in the basic and secondary curriculum in the country is necessary, beneficial, and practicable.
One doesn’t have to finish grade school and high school first before being given the option to study SPED.
This is important because, as they say, prevention is better than cure. The United Nations has found out that, on the average, 19% of the less educated people have disabilities.
Also, based on the study of the UN Development Programme, 80% of the PWDs live in developing countries.
Disability rates are significantly higher, too, among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with lower educational attainment.
The Philippines is a developing country and among the member countries of the OECD.
On the other hand, sign language is necessary. In Article XIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, “the Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good.” Learning sign language then could help promote social justice that the article calls for.
Sign language is beneficial as well. There are 36 PWD organizations registered with the National Council on Disability Affairs. Each of them aims to help PWDs in their living, providing seminars and workshops on one hand, and giving wheelchairs, crutches, and hearing aids on the other. Some would also conduct free medical and dental services, administer schools advocating PWD rights, and train deaf high school graduates in computer technology. Still, there are people unwilling to give PWDs a chance to prove their worth. Learning sign language then could instill awareness of the “social problem” physical disability has come to be.
Sign language is practicable. It could help facilitate the cognitive, social, emotional and linguistic growth of PWDs and non-PWDs alike. In a report, those in the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Provincial Governor’s Office extension office in Cebu have taken sign language classes earlier this year “to improve service”; while in another, some 52 healthcare providers in government health facilities have trained in basic sign language, too, “to communicate better with hearing-impaired Pinoys.” Learning sign language then could lead to a PWD-friendly culture that could make the Philippines even more appealing to every local or foreign tourist.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, from prekindergarten to elementary and secondary, to special education, to technical and higher education and beyond.” ~ Jim Jeffords
Video taken from the YouTube Channel of teach.org