Duterte signs inclusive education law for students with disabilities – Manila Bulletin

President Duterte has signed into law a measure that would ensure inclusive education for learners with disabilities.

President Rodrigo Duterte (KING RODRIGUEZ / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

Republic Act No. 11650 dated March 11 and released to the media on Tuesday March 15, aims to institute a policy of inclusion and services for learners with disabilities in support of inclusive education and to establish inclusive learning resource centers in all schools in the country.

“It is the policy of the state to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and to take appropriate measures to make such education accessible to all,” the law states.

“It recognises, protects and promotes the rights of all learners with disabilities, including those belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin, to an education based on equal opportunity, makes such education compulsory and accessible to them by ensuring that no learner with a disability is denied the right of access to inclusive, equitable and quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for them”, a- he added.

Under the new law, the Department of Education (DepEd) is mandated to establish at least one Inclusive Learning Resource Center for Learners with Disabilities (ILRC) in all cities and towns with the assistance of government units local (LGU).

The law also converts existing Special Education Centers (SPEDs) into ILRCs, prioritizing areas with the highest number of learners with disabilities.

By law, LGUs can establish satellite ILRCs in schools, the operation and maintenance of which will be included in the school improvement plan, a roadmap that sets out specific school interventions and solutions. school to the corresponding identified priority areas for improvement and aims to improve the three key result areas in basic education, namely access, quality and governance.

It also allows private preschool or basic education schools to establish additional facilities necessary for the education of learners with disabilities in coordination with the ILRCs within their cities and municipalities.

Meanwhile, ILRCs are responsible for implementing the child tracing system to ensure that all learners with disabilities who are not receiving early and basic education services are identified, located and assessed, and facilitate their inclusion. in the general education system.

To ensure inclusive education in the ILRCs, the measure also mandated the DepEd and the Higher Education Commission to develop scholarship programs for in-service teachers who will take courses or the required master’s degree units on education. special needs, inclusive education or other related courses.

The law stipulates that each CRVA must have a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals and experts who will help prepare the program for all students with disabilities based on their assessments and diagnoses.

These include school psychologists, guidance counsellors, developmental pediatricians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, speech therapists, reading specialists, braille specialists and other modes alternative and enhanced communication skills, sign language specialists and interpreters, sign communication or visual specialists and teachers with special needs.

A 2019 UNICEF report showed that about 60 percent of Filipino children with disabilities were out of school, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Listahanan.

Additionally, the inability to access educational services and learning resources was one of the top concerns cited in the 2020 survey of the Child Welfare Council’s Subcommittee on Children with Disabilities.

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