/ 8 December 2020

THE DEPARTMENT of Education and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization vowed to continue programs that will give all Filipino children equal access to education.

The Philippines hosted the 2020 Global Education Monitoring report, whose goal is to provide education to every learner. This year’s theme is “Inclusion and education: All means all.”

In a message, Education Secretary Leonor Briones shared the country’s response to the challenges the education sector is facing in these trying times.

“As all of us know, our ‘battle cry’ is no one should be left behind and that includes people with disabilities and special requirements. The Constitution does not make any distinction between and among people from different groups or with different needs. It just says that it should be available to all Filipino children, to all Filipino learners. And this is why, when we have our annual crisis, whether natural disasters or natural events as well and political interventions… we always make sure that education will continue and that now one will be left behind,” Briones said.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that under Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the country recognizes the diversity of the country’s learners, schools and communities.

San Antonio explained that as part of DepEd’s commitment to UNESCO’s goal of inclusivity, the country has broadened the goals of basic education by providing a wider range of options not only for higher education, but also for opportunities in employment and entrepreneurship.

The GEM report warned that “education opportunities continue to be unequally distributed” especially during the pandemic.

UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education Stefania Giannini said that it is their organization’s mission to inform the world of this prevailing issue.

“The report’s 10 messages are precisely about that [crisis and challenges]. The call to action- we should need as we seek to pave the way for more resilient, equal and inclusive societies. And as the world enters the final decade of action to achieve SDG 4 and fulfill its commitments towards inclusive education, this call to action is increasingly important,” she said.