MANILA – The Department of Education said Wednesday it was expanding the coverage of its inclusive education programs by making these services available in every school.
“We are pushing [for] a one-stop shop policy for every school in the delivery of programs and services that are relevant and appropriate to the needs of learners,” Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said at the launch of the 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report.
“This means that every school should offer inclusion programs if they have learners in the school who need these programs,” he said.
The expansion of inclusive education programs has led to a significant increase in the enrollment of learners with disabilities in the last 3 years, from 163,000 enrollees in School Year (SY) 2017-2018 to 360,879 in SY 2019-2020, according to San Antonio.
The DepEd has programs that address the needs of learners from marginalized and disadvantaged groups. These include the Special Education for learners with disabilities, Madrasah education for Filipino Muslims, Indigenous Peoples’ Education, and the Alternative Learning System for out-of-school youth and adults, among others.
San Antonio said the DepEd was also expanding access to secondary schools “by converting those elementary schools in remote areas into integrated schools and providing these schools with complete facilities and improved learning environment.”
The department is also collaborating with government agencies and non-government organizations to improve the implementation of inclusion programs, he added.
The 2020 GEM Report is an annual report prepared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that tracks the progress of countries in achieving the education targets in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework.
With the theme “Inclusion and education: All Means All,” this year’s report provides recommendations for education stakeholders to “widen their understanding of inclusive education to include all learners, no matter their identity, background or ability.”