Inclusive Education Bill will help 5.5-M learners with disabilities --- CRN

The Child Rights Network (CRN) thanked the House of Representatives (HoR) for passing on second reading House Bill 8080 or the "Inclusive Education" Bill on December 2 because this will help learners with disabilities (LWDs) sustain their education with fewer roadblocks.


Majority of the 5.5 million LWDs in the Philippines have long faced limited access to public education, as reported by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The issues they have faced that will be addressed by HB 8080 through a wide range of services for LWDs in support of inclusive education. The bill will establish inclusive learning resource centers in all school districts in the country.

LWDs are children and youth who have "intellectual or learning disabilities, mental, emotional or behavioral disorders, speech and language sensory impairments, autism, long term physical or health disabilities, deaf-blindedness and multiple handicapping conditions," according to the bill.

With HB 8080, the lack of disability-friendly learning environments in schools, lack of proper materials and facilities, and even discrimination faced by the LWDs in schools, will be addressed.

One of the highlights of the bill, according to CRN, is the landmark recognition that LWDs need to be mainstreamed in regular age-appropriate school settings with the provision of needed supplementary aid and "in order to prepare them to live as fully functioning members of society."

Teachers will be given ample training on inclusive education, and they will likewise be provided with instructional materials that would address learning difficulties of LWDs.

HB 8080 also covered the "Program Support Fund" that would ensure the institutionalization of services for LWDs. These proposed services include the hiring of specialists for the diagnosis and assessment of LWDs and the prescription of appropriate intervention.

The bill will also subsidize inclusive education-related expenses, such as transportation and various developmental, corrective, and other support services such as speech language pathology and auditory services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, and medical services "as may be required to assist a child with a disability for them to fully enjoy the benefits from education services."