Save the Children Philippines lauds the Bicameral Conference Committee for approving the Inclusive Education (IE) Bill in time for the celebration of International Day for Children with Disabilities. It is now awaiting the approval of the president to pass it into a law.
“We thank the Bicameral Conference Committee for supporting the Inclusive Education Bill. We are now one step closer to fulfilling children’s rights to access health services and inclusive quality education, especially for those with disabilities and most impacted by inequality and discrimination” said Atty. Albert Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines.
The IE bill ensures that no learner with disability shall be denied admission and inclusion in any public or private, early or basic education school in the country. It will afford such learners with equitable opportunities to educational and support services, and programs such as capacity building for students, their families/ caregivers, and teachers.
Knowledge hubs such as Inclusive Learning Resource Centers (ILRC) will also be established by local government units in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd).
“All children have the right to be educated, but some of them don’t have enough access, ability, and resources. Through the Inclusive Education Bill, we will be able to experience going to school,” said Jen, a parent of a child with disability who shared her sentiments on the importance of equal learning opportunities among children with and without disabilities.
Passing the Inclusive Education Bill will be monumental for the 5.5 million learners with disabilities as it seeks to create for them a responsive system for identification, referral, and intervention, in partnership with stakeholders.
“We appeal for the immediate approval of the Bill by the President ensuring that no learner will be left behind. The IE Bill makes our educational system more inclusive by providing a safe, accessible, and supportive educational environment, infrastructures, and facilities for one of the most discriminated sectors of Filipino children,” said Sierra Mae Paraan, Basic Education Advisor of Save the Children Philippines.
Among many of the IE Bill’s other provisions are the Advisory Council for Education of Learners with Disabilities that will support the DepEd in further improving the country’s educational system, and the provision of a support system for parents to help them care for their children at home better.
“We support the Inclusive Education Bill campaign because no child should be deprived of education because of his/her disability. No child should be punished or discriminated because of disability,” said DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.
Save the Children Philippines has been advocating for the Inclusive Education Bill and is implementing programs to aid learners with disabilities including 1) the Kabataang Aralin Sa Lahat Ibahagi (KASALI) Project which attends to the different developmental needs of children with disabilities, 2) Building Resources and Networks for the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Marginalized Urban Communities (BRIDGE) Project that helps girls and boys with disabilities in urban poor communities and informal settlements in Parañaque City to access inclusive and quality basic health, child protection, information and social protection services, 3) SCOPE Project which strengthens the capacity of organizations of persons with disabilities and other civil society organizations towards effective civil society-local government engagement and improved government accountability for persons with disabilities, especially children in the cities of Parañaque and Taguig, and the Municipality of Pateros, and 4) Project ENGAGE that ensures meaningful participation of children and youth with disabilities in governance and policy.
In a message of solidarity to Save the Children, Briones highlighted DepEd’s support in protecting the rights of learners with disabilities. “We have a duty to all learners to provide them with learning opportunities and provide them with quality education as they further their search for wisdom, knowledge, and level of preparedness for life. We hope to continue cooperating and collaborating with Save the Children in giving opportunities to children especially those with disabilities.”