Special education refers to the arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, accessible settings, and other interventions designed to address the needs of students with learning differences, mental health issues, physical and developmental disabilities, and giftedness. Provision of special education is inferred from two provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Article II, Section 17 provides that the state must give priority to education, while Article XIV, Section 1 guarantees that this education be accessible to all: appropriate steps must be taken.
Chapter II of Title II of the Magna Carta for Disable Persons, RA 7277, introduced some rules on special education in the Philippines. Sec. 12 mandates that the “State shall take into consideration the special requirements of disabled persons in the formulation of educational policies and programs. ” On the other hand, learning institutions are encouraged “to take into account the special needs of disabled persons with respect to the use of school facilities, class schedules, physical education requirements, and other pertinent consideration. “
Specifically, learning institutions are encouraged to provide “auxiliary services that will facilitate the learning process for disabled persons. ” Sec. 14 of RA 7277 provides that the State “shall establish, maintain and support complete, adequate and integrated system of special education for the visually impaired, hearing impaired, mentally retarded persons and other types of exceptional children in all regions of the country. ” However, AFAIK, there is still no comprehensive law which mandates special education in the Philippines. There are two pending Senate bills: SB No. 517, the Pleaseregister to see links. , introduced by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and SB No.
2020, the Please register to see links. , introduced by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. Both are still pending on the Committee Level. Sen. Estrada’s bill proposes the establishment of special education centers in strategic places to be able to provide accessible services for children with special needs. It mandates that there should be at least one Special Education Center for each school division, and at least three SpEd Centers for school divisions with Children with Special Needs (CSN). Furthermore, it mandates that the State shall institutionalize an adequate and relevant educational program for every child with special needs (Sec.2).
The bill seeks to empower the parents of CSN, by providing them with information about the full continuum of services and possible placement options (Sec. 3, para. d). It further seeks to empower the teachers and other caregivers by providing them with the capability to identify, refer and intervene with developmental disorders and disabilities (Sec. 3, para. e). (I hate the word “prevent” which is actually used in the bill. )
But perhaps, the most lofty ideal as identified by the bill is to “effectuate significant and positive changes in community attitudes towards disability and the need to provide special education, care and other needs of children with special needs. (Sec. 3, para. g). “
The putative Special Education Act of 2007 identifies ten groups of Children with Special Needs (CSNs) (Sec. 4, para. f): 1. gifted children and fast learners 2. mentally handicapped/mentally retarded 3. visually impaired 4. hearing impaired 5. children with behavior problems 6. orthopedically handicapped 7. children with special health problems 8. children with learning disabilities (perceptual handicap, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia) 9. speech impaired 10. persons with autism Sen.
Santiago’s bill is substantially the same as Sen. Estrada’s. However, these two bills just legislates something which DepEd had apparently been doing as early as 1997. In DepEd Order No. 27, s. 1997, all divisions where required to organize at least one SPED Center to cater to children with special needs. DepEd also has Please register to see links. under its Bureau of Elementary Education.
The ultimate goal of special education in the public schools, according to the Special Education Division of DepEd, is the integration or mainstreaming of learners with special needs into the regular school system and eventually in the community, following the principles of The Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Education.
Out of 84. 4 million Filipinos, approximately 5. 486 million (13%) are individuals with special needs. Around 4. 8% are provided with appropriate educational services, but the 95. 2% of those with exceptionalities are unserved. In 1995 to 1996 about 80,000 special needs children enrolled. 156,270 by school year 2004 to 2005: 77,152 were mentally gifted and 79,118 were children with disabilities: 40, 260 learning disabilities 11,597 hearing impaired 2,670 visually impaired 12,456 intellectually disabled 5,112 behavior issues 760 orthopedically disabled 5,172 children with autism 912 speech defectives 142 chronically ill 32 children with cerebral palsy.
A very comprehensive review of the state of special education in the Philippines, in 1988, can be found in Pascual and Gregorio’s “A Case Study on Special Education in the Philippines”. http://eduphil. org/special-education-in-the-philippines. html SPED teachers to sharpen tools in a national conference June 26, 2013 PASIG CITY – Teachers and school administrators handling children with special learning needs are expected to further hone their skills during the 2013 national conference on Special Education (SPED) being put together by the Department of Education (DepEd).
“We are opening the conference to public and private school teachers and administrators and other SPED service providers in line with our policy to continue to create a culture of inclusive education,” said Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC. The conference aims to engage teachers and school administrators in the discussions of the evolving practices in handling SPED learners with the end-view of producing inclusive policies.
Preparations are now underway for the conference to be held in November in Iloilo which carries the theme “Special Education: A Bridge to Inclusion. ” One of the conference highlights is the awarding of prizes to the winners of the Search for the Most Outstanding Receiving Teachers, as well as Outstanding SPED Teachers and SPED Centers. The national finalists will be awarded certificates while the national winners will receive plaques of appreciation and cash prizes. The conference will also be a venue to discuss current trends, skills and practices on the management of
inclusive education schools. “We can also expect presentations on researches on inclusive education which others may adopt or adapt,” added Luistro. The Department of Educationclearly states its vision forchildren with special needsin consonance with thephilosophy of inclusiveeducation, thus:
3. “The State, community and familyhold a common vision for the Filipinochild with special needs. By the 21stcentury, it is envisioned that he/shecould be adequately provided withbasic education. This education shouldfully realize his/her own potentials fordevelopment and productivity as wellas being capable of self-expression ofhis/her rights in society. Moreimportantly, he/she is God-loving andproud of being a Filipino.
4. The policy on InclusiveEducation for All is adoptedin the Philippines toaccelerate access toeducation among childrenand youth with specialneeds. 5. It is also envisioned that the childwith special needs will get fullparental and community support forhis/her education w/o discriminationof any kind. This special child shouldalso be provided with a healthyenvironment along with leisure andrecreation and social securitymeasures” (Department of EducationHandbook on Inclusive Education,2000).
6. Inclusive education formsan integral component ofthe overall educationalsystem that is committed toan appropriate educationfor all children and youthwith special needs. 7. The goal of the specialeducation programs of theDepartment of Education allover the country is to providechildren with special needsappropriate educationalservices within the mainstreamof basic education. 8. The two-pronged goalincludes the development ofkey strategies on legislation,human resource development,family involvement and activeparticipation of governmentand non- governmentorganizations.
9. Likewise, there aremajor issues to address onattitudinal barriers of thegeneral public and efforttowards theinstitutionalization andsustainability of specialeducation programs andservices. 10. ?Provide support services, vocational programs and work training, employment opportunities for efficient community participation and independent living, 11. ?Provide a flexible and individualized support system for children and youth with special needs in a regular class environment in schools nearest the students’ home.
12. ?Implement a life-longcurriculum to include earlyintervention and parenteducation, basic educationand transition programs onvocational training orpreparation for college,and 13. ? Make available an array educational programs and services: the Special Education Center built on “a school within a school concept” as the resource center for children and youth with special needs; inclusive education in regular schools, special and residential schools, homebound instruction, hospital instruction and community-based programs; alternative modes of service delivery to reach the advantaged children in far-flung towns, depressed areas and underserved barangays.
14. Inciong, Teresita G. , Quijano,Yolanda S.and Capulong, YolandaT. Introduction to SpecialEducation. Manila, Philippines:Rex Bookstore, 2007. State of special education With the “zero reject” policy, any parent can enroll their children in public schools – even SPED pupils. Unfortunately, not all public schools in the country has a SPED center, or at least a SPED program.
“Every school should have a program for SPED, kasi lahat ng bata, makikita mo sa lahat ng eskwelahan ,” Department of Education (DepEd) SPED division chief Mirla Olores. Citing an estimate from the World Health Organization, Olores said children with special needs comprise 15% of the population in a given community.
Back in 2012, they were estimated to be more or less 13% of the country’s youth and children, with only 2% receiving government support. But today, only 416 SPED centers nationwide are funded by the government, with 4 more waiting for recognition. Aside from this, Olores estimated around 200 public schools offer a SPED program, but without a center. That is 620 out of 34,000 public elementary schools nationwide – a long way to go, obviously, for special education in the Philippines.
Based on enrollment alone, there are 239,000 SPED pupils in public elementary schools today, and only 6,000 pure SPED teacher-items. But since the ultimate goal of special education is the child’s integration or “mainstreaming” into regular school – and eventually, in the community – Olores said every teacher should have an orientation in special education. “Kasi akala ng teacher bobo lang [yung estudyante], ‘yun pala may specific disability.
Ang teacher gagawa ng maraming sulat sa board, ‘yun pala ‘yung bata nagsasayaw lang yung mga letra [para sa kanya] kasi reading disability, iba-brand ngayon sya na bobo. Kaya lahat ng teacher dapat alam ang SPED,” she said.
(What teachers call stupidity is actually a specific disability. As the teacher writes on the board, and the letters seem to be dancing for the child with reading disability, the teacher might brand him as stupid. That is why all teachers must know SPED. ) Department of Education (DepEd) said it wants to achieve a similar feat of effectively honing students with special needs. In a statement, Education Secretary Armin Luistro announced the government has hiked its budget subsidy for special children or those with learning disabilities.
For the new school year that begins in June, Luistro said the DepEd has increased the budget subsidy for elementary Special Education (Sped) centers by 56% to P180-M. He said the DepEd has also increased the number of its Sped centers to 345 for school year 2012-2013, from 276 in the previous school year. Based on DepEd data, children with special needs comprise more or less 13% of the Philippines’ youth and children. Various estimates show only around 2% of them currently receive government support.
The government faces the challenge of keeping them in school alongside perennial problems like improving the basic education curriculum and increasing the number of schools and classrooms. “We believe that special learners deserve special attention and specialized learning tools, thus the increase in funding support,” Luistro explained.
Luistro, a former president of the De La Salle University, also instructed school officials to purchase instructional materials “to develop the gifted child’s intellectual abilities and talents,” such as softwares, DVDs, and other audio and video tapes. Governments should empower persons with disabilities and remove the barriers that prevent them from receiving quality education, among other things, said the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank (WB) in a joint report late last year.
In his preface to the report, world-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking stressed the world’s “moral duty to remove the barriers to participation and to invest sufficient funding and expertise to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities. ” “Governments throughout the world can no longer overlook the hundreds of millions of people with disabilities who are denied access to health, rehabilitation, support, education, and employment, and never get the chance to shine,” Hawking said.
In special education, it is not only government funding that matters, however. In an interview before the Aquino administration took over, then DepEd Special Education Chief Mirla Olores said few special children go to school partly because “parents tend to hide their children with disabilities out of embarrassment. ” A number of parents, on the other hand, cite poverty as a reason for not sending special children to school. “We need intensive advocacy programs to encourage parents of differently-able children to send them to special education classes,” Olores said.
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