SENATOR PRODS GOV’T: PRIORITIZE IMPLEMENTATION OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION LAW FOR LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES
SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Marcos administration to ensure learners with disabilities are not left behind in the education sector's recovery from the impact of Covid19 pandemic.
SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Marcos administration to ensure learners with disabilities are not left behind in the education sector’s recovery from the impact of Covid19 pandemic.
Gatchalian said this entails the effective implementation of Republic Act No. 11650 or Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act, which he sponsored during the 18th Congress.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education likewise reiterated the urgency of increasing enrollment among learners with disabilities, which remained far from pre-pandemic levels as of last school year.
Based on the Department of Education’s data as of March 14 this year, there were 126,598 learners with disabilities enrolled in DepEd schools for School Year 2021-2022, or 65 percent lower than the 360,879 recorded for SY 2019-2020.
During the deliberations for the 2023 national budget, Gatchalian pushed for the allocation of funding for DepEd’s Special Education program to ensure learners with disabilities will receive support.
To ensure all regions in the country will have a model Inclusive Learning Resource Center for Learners with Disabilities, Gatchalian proposed to increase the budget of DepEd’s capital outlay for SPED from P96 million to P160 million.
Gatchalian also vowed earlier this year he will move for the conduct of regular and conscientious oversight of the law’s implementation.
Pursuant to the law’s policy of inclusion, Gatchalian said he wants to see all public and private schools ensuring equitable access to quality to every learner with disability, such that no learner shall be denied admission on the basis of disability.
Under Republic Act No. 11650, ILRCs are mandated to implement inclusive education programs and deliver free support services to learners with disabilities, including language and speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical and physiotherapy, provision of qualified sign language interpreters, and other similar services, aids, and actions that facilitate the learning process.
The lawmaker added in the long run, the government should meet the target to build at least one ILRC in every school district, city, or municipality, which DepEd shall build in coordination with local government units.