Gatchalian bats for creation of special education centers in all public schools

Published July 13, 2019, 1:53 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian wants the Duterte administration to establish special education centers in all public schools in the country to promote inclusive education and enable schools to effectively handle the needs of children and youth with disabilities and other special needs.

Senator Sherwin 'Win' Gatchalian (JOHN JEROME GANZON/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Senator Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian (JOHN JEROME GANZON/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian, thus, filed Senate Bill 171, or the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act.

He may get the chairmanship of the Senate education committee in the forthcoming 18th Congress that opens on July 22.

Gatchalian said the government needs to build upon the existing infrastructure of the national public school system to provide services to as many Filipino children with special needs.

“This could be done by establishing Inclusive Education Learning Resource Centers in all public schools divisions nationwide,” he said.

“The Centers shall function as a resource center that shall assist in promoting inclusive education to capacitate regular schools to effectively handle the needs of children and youth with disability,’’ he explained.

The lawmaker stressed that each center will also be equipped with the facilities and personnel necessary to provide care and instruction to children and youth with special needs, specifically special education teachers and other specialists.

Gatchalian cited estimates from the Department of Education indicate that as of School Year (SY) 2016-2017, there are approximately 303,109 Filipino children in public schools with special education needs.

“Physical, cognitive, psychological, and/or communication disabilities prevent them from fully participating in regular schools,’’ he said.

“Moreover, the regular schools, whether public or private, are often incapable of providing these children with the care, attention, and guidance that they require for the development of their physical, cognitive, and social skills,” he added.

Gatchalian noted that given the current setup, as of SY 2016-2017, there were around 303,000 children with special needs enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools who may have not been provided with the needed education and care.

“Much remains to be done in addressing the gap with respect to the provision of special education in the country,” he said.

“Every child has the right to an education commensurate with his abilities and to the development of his skills for the improvement of his capacity for service to himself and to his fellowmen,” Gatchalian added.

 
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