Tag Archives: Department of Education

Filipino PWDs this April 2019

Being able to study in an environment that allows persons with disabilities (PWDs) study alongside their non-PWD counterparts would mean nothing if PWDs wouldn’t even be able to exercise their right: their right to suffrage.
Yet “there were still some cases where PWDs go home without casting their votes due to inaccessibility of some polling areas or lack of assistance from election board officers,” commented Dr. Maureen Mata from the Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP) in a report.
This has been evident during the 2018 barangay elections.
May kakulangan po talaga sa Comelec. Kulang na kulang po. Parang nakikita namin, 1 percent of the 100 percent that we are expecting from the government agency para ma-implement ‘yung mga patakaran,” she added.
As per the Comelec’s initial data, 270,082 PWDs and senior citizens registered to vote in 6,709 accessible clustered precincts in all regions nationwide, except for the Ilocos Region.
There are also 867 emergency accessible polling places (EAPPs) in NCR, CAR, Regions IV-A, IV-B, V, VII, and VII.

“Ang karapatan ng pagboto ay hindi magiging totoo habang ang mga magaaral na may kapansanan ay nakikipag-laban araw-araw sa isang kapaligiran na hindi siya kasali.” ~Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the ABS-CBN News 

Note: During the 2016 national elections, an act that authorized Comelec to establish accessible polling places (APPs) for PWDs and senior citizens– Republic Act 10366–was implemented. It led PWD groups to dub the said election as the “first disability-inclusive elections in the history of the Philippines.”

Filipino PWDs this February 2019

Had there been persons with disabilities who took advantage of the early registration?

The latest data that The PWD Forum could find was from a report in February 7. A total of 760,530 incoming kindergarten, and grades 1, 7 and 11 had preregistered in public schools across the country for School Year 2019 to 2020—11 days  after the Department of Education (DepEd) announced the Early Registration Module of the Learner Information System (LIS).

About 215,363 came from Region 4-A or Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), 127,285 from the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), 69,257 from Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), and 64,972 from Region 10 (Northern Mindanao).

In 2010, most of the persons with disabilities in the country are in Region IV-A.

In any case, the secretary of the Department of Health has agreed that students should be made to understand mental health conditions.

Dapat pinapakilala na itong pagtanggal sa stigma sa eskuwelahan pa lamang para yung mga bata maintindihan na may ganitong mental health conditions na kailangan maintindihan at tugunan ng tama at hindi ibig sabihin ay hopeless case na yung kondisyon,” he has said in the report.

Letting PWDs study alongside non-PWDs has been one of the things I aimed for when I started this blog. I have no doubts that this will help everyone just like what it has done to Palestinian artist Mohamed Dalo; Czech athletes Jiří Ježek, Martin Kovář, Běla Hlaváčková, and Petra Kurková; and Bahamians Townsely Roberts and Gary Russell.

If PWDs and non-PWDs study together, as I have argued when The PWD Forum turned four, there would be no need to build exclusive educational institutions. Even PWDs can finish degrees: Maricel Apatan, Marc Joseph EscoraSafiya Mundus, Arnel Navales Aba, and Godfrey Esperanzate Taberna. We just have to believe.

Apparently, not everyone is willing to give PWDs a chance. The JCSGO Christian Academy has been alleged in a report to have discriminated an incoming third grade student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Under education for all, wala tayo dapat tinatanggihan ang bata na mag-aral, anuman ang kanyang maging kalagayan. Kailangan nating mabigyan ng pantay na karapatan ang lahat ng bata para makapag-aral.” ~ DepEd National Capital Region Director Willie Cabral

Filipino PWDs this January 2019

The onset of the year has been promising for persons with disabilities in the Philippines.

For one, the education department’s secretary has called on them to register.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones has issued this in DepEd Order No. 3 series of 2018. The Early Registration, which is based on the “Basic Education Enrollment Policy,” covers incoming kinder, grade 7 and grade 11 learners in public schools. Out-of-school children (OSC) and youth (OSY) in the community are also invited as well as those living in an off-grid community, in a barangay without a school, in a geographically isolated area, in an armed conflict area, in an area with high level of criminality/drug abuse, in conflict with the law, and on the streets.

Those displaced due to natural disaster could also register even the victims of child abuse or economic exploitation, stateless or undocumented, and those who are no longer in school but interested in going back to schools.

Letting persons with disabilities study alongside non-PWDs has been my suggestion since February 19, 2016 when I’ve written about Austria and how it’s taking care of PWDs in the country. It has legislated integrative schooling in 1993 during the first eight years of a child. This is also what is being observed in Spain and Malaysia.

The PWD Forum has pushed for the integration of special education in the basic and secondary curriculum in the country. It has reiterated that after The PWD Forum turned one in the blogosphere and even after it turned twoThe PWD Forum has also made a case on the necessity, benefit, and practicality of sign language if only it is taught to every one.

In the Philippines, this has been the case at the Carmona National High School (CNHS) in Cavite. Education is an equalizer, pointed by Atty. Liza D. Corro, chancellor of University of the Philippines-Cebu, in a post.

The government has also implemented the value-added tax (VAT) exemption on sale of medicines—regardless of brands—for diabetes, high cholesterol,  and hypertension as mandated by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, or TRAIN law.

And, most important of all, the law that could provide affordable mental health services for Filipinos–the Mental Health Law (Republic Act 11036)–has been signed after more or less 28 years. It could secure the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs, provide services for them even in barangays, improve mental healthcare facilities, and promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.

“Disability is one of the many forms in which human life occurs: it should be accepted as such and the people concerned should not be excluded in any way from participating in society.” ~ Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs in co-operation with Österreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rehabilitation

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of GMA Public Affairs

How SPED is in the Philippines

Educating persons with disabilities in the Philippines seemed to be more ideal than what The PWD Forum expected.

In 2012, the Department of Education (DepEd) has allotted P180 million for its Special Education program. That’s a 56% increase from its budget of P115 million only in the previous year!

It has also opened 69 more SPED centers then—from 276 only–where each one can get P500,000 subsidy from the fund for pupil development activities including training, educational trips, camp activities, sports and other events; procurement of instructional materials, supplies and learning assessment tools; and training of more teachers, school heads and SPED supervisors. Then-Education Secretary Brother Armin Altamirano Luistro has entrusted its implementation to division and regional offices.

The DepEd has continued to ensure providing “the necessary educational interventions for learners with certain exceptionalities through its Special Education (SPED) program.” In the program, there could be (1) a separate class for only one type of exceptionality, (2) a teacher who would travel—at home or in schools—to provide direct and consultative services, (3) a designated place where there is a specialized equipment, (4) a chance for a PWD to receive special instructions from a SPED teacher; (5) a possibility to be either partially or fully integrated, and (6) an opportunity for PWDs, regardless of the nature and severity of their disability and need for related services, to receive total education within the regular education classroom.

So for this school year, there would be 40,642 teachers for the  kindergarten and elementary level, 34,244 teachers for the junior high school, and 356 teachers for the senior high school. It will be charged against the new school personnel positions budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), which was allotted P553.31 billion in total this year

“We believe that special learners deserve special attention and specialized learning tools, thus the increase in funding support.” ~ Bro. Armin Luistro

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Leonard Cheshire

Notes:

Partial integration – the PWD enrolled in a special class is integrated with regular children during non-academic activities like work education, physical education, arts, school programs, etc, then gradually integrated in the academic subjects if qualified.

Full integration – the PWD enrolled in a special class is integrated with regular children in all academic and non-academic subjects.

Why Educating PWDs is Better

Learning is important and every individual—with disabilities or none—must have a chance for it. It is notable then that hearing-impaired Hilarion Daen Jr. and blind Edna Blacer would teach special education to students at the Rawis Elementary School in Legazpi City.

Daen Jr., 56, handles kindergarten pupils with hearing deficiencies for two decades to date. He believes that early childhood education is one of the most crucial parts of child development especially for children with impairments.

“Other than making them understand that they are part of the society despite their impairment, it is also important to make them realize that they are not just accepted, but they can also do something for the community, and I, being a hearing-impaired teacher, am the best example,” Daen Jr. was quoted saying in a report.

“Seeing each of my students learn new things every day satisfies me and makes me motivated to stay in this profession,” he added.

Blacer, 45, on the other hand, started teaching with a normal vision. After a decade, though, her vision regressed so she can only recognize letters in relatively large sizes now.

“The current inclusive learning strategy paves the way for these visually-impaired students to see the world in a different perspective, enabling them to take part in community development regardless of their visual disability,” Blacer was also quoted saying in the same report.

Recently, the Department of Education (DepEd) has tallied 471 SPED centers and regular schools catering to elementary students and 177 providing for secondary students. Rehabilitating persons with disabilities during early childhood is crucial because, like what Julia Rees, UNICEF Department Representative has said ,”good care and development during this time increases their chances of becoming healthy and productive adults and lessening the future cost of education, medical care, and social spending.”

“Early childhood intervention can fulfill the rights of children with disabilities in promoting rich and fulfilling childhoods and prepare them [for] meaningful participation in adulthood,” she added.

“I want to tell the kids that even though their situation is difficult, because of their visual impairment, they should not lose hope. They need to persevere. They need the determination to pursue what they want to be and achieve in their life.” ~ Edna Blacer

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of  Rappler

Education for Filipino CYNS

Children and youth with special needs in the Philippines may have a chance for a quality education in the country once the Senate Bill 1732 passes.

Tagged as the Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs Act, the SB 1732 seeks to “widen the access to quality education for children and youth with special needs (CYNS) in order to provide equal opportunities for all students.” It also aims to establish Inclusive Education Learning Resource Centers in every public school division in the country and ensure adequate pay to teachers.

Of the 649 special education centers that the Department of Education recognizes, only 471 can cater to elementary students and 177 to high school students. There were also only 2,600 elementary SPED teachers and 280 high school SPED teachers.

“Our current public education structure lacks the necessary tools and resources in better assisting children and youth with special needs in their learning environment, and the role of the government is to provide the essential devices and employ the right people who will aid them to do well in a natural learning environment,” Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture, was quoted saying in his sponsorship speech.

“Importanteng makapagbigay ng sapat na mga kurso para mabigyan ng sapat na training at kaalaman ang mga teachers upang sa gayon makuha natin ang eksaktong datos. Ilan nga ba at gaano karami yan upang makapaglaan din tayo ng sapat na resources para matugunan ang problema at pangangailangang yan,” he added.

Aside from Sen. Escudero, the other lawmakers that filed the SB 1732 last March 7, 2018 were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, and Paolo Benigno Aquino.

Notes:

  1. The bill considers equipping the education sector with “tools and resources to make it responsive to the needs of CYNS as it geared towards integration.”
  2. Children in the Philippines refer to person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.
  3. Youth in the Philippines refer to those persons whose ages range from fifteen (15) to thirty (30) years old.

“While we acknowledge the fact that they are in need of special education and care, children and youth with special needs should also be given the chance to live like any other children in our country. It would be best to educate them in such a way that they will be able to interact and learn with children their age.” ~ Sen. Francis Escudero

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of aztecs1953

Being SPED-ready

In the Philippines, an educational institution has become “SPED-ready”: the Carmona National High School (CNHS) in Cavite.

“SPED-ready” is a term The PWD Forum will use from now on in describing schools that let students—with disabilities or none—learn together. It was its belief to either integrate special education to the basic and secondary curriculum of the schools in the Philippines or teach sign language. It would help the country’s economy if almost all of its citizens are skilled and, since its population is ageing, everyone is qualified to meet the labor demands of globalization.

So for its part, the CNHS has launched socialization activities that give practical training to PWDs. “Hindi namin itinatago ang mga [estudyanteng may] IDs (intellectual disability) ditto (Here, we do not hide our students with intellectual disabilities),” CNHS principal Teresita Silan was quoted in a report.

It has inspired high school student Bernadette Levardo to hang out instead of tucking herself in. She now aims to be a chef, buy a house, and own a restaurant.

“Through the transition program, Bernadette was trained, she improved her social skills, and it boosted her confidence. I was even amazed she was able to deliver a speech just recently in senior high school,” her teacher, Estie Manguiat, has remarked in the same report.

Integration could allow PWDs and non-PWDs alike to develop their skills and interact independently. Even Student Inclusion Division head Nancy Pascual of the DepEd central office has come to see that development and social adaptation are much faster with interaction.

In CNHS, this is done through a seating arrangement that lets PWDs and non-PWDs sit together. Non-SPED educators are also regularly trained to be sensitive to a PWDs’ needs and pace of learning by the local government’s Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO). The school has forged partnerships with fast food chains and factories in their town, too, to promote employment.

As of now, the Philippines can already boast of schools that are “SPED-ready”. The only thing to work on is an “upgrade” of these educational institutions into learning resource centers (LRCs) to get a mainstream school enroll PWDs.

“Specialized equipment are lodged in the learning resource centers. Any school that has PWD enrollment will be able to access it anytime of the year. This addresses the financial side. Instead of going to SPED schools far from their homes, they could just enroll in the nearest school to their residence, which is not necessarily a SPED center.” ~ Nancy Pascual

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rappler