In line with its commitment to promote and protect children’s rights, the Department of Education (DepEd) is determined to strengthen the implementation of rights-based education (RBE) for this year.
DepEd, through its Legal Affairs strand, highlighted the different initiatives of the agency to continue promoting the RBE. “Much has been done but there is still so much work to do,” said Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Josephine Maribojoc.
In her year-end report, Maribojoc highlighted the advocacy of DepEd to “develop happy, well-rounded, and smart children enjoying their rights in school, learning centers, and other learning environments” through the RBE.
The RBE promotes three dimensions which include the right to access to education; the right to quality education; and the right to respect in the learning environment.
It also promotes the “right to identity and non-discrimination, right to be heard and to participate, and the right to protection against all forms of violence and abuse.”
At the start of 2021, the Office of the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs (OULA) headed by Maribojoc, spearheaded the creation of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) and Child Rights in Education Desk (CREDe) through DepEd Order No. 003 s. 2021.
CREDe, along with the Child Protection Unit (CPU), is tasked to “uphold the rights of children to accessible and quality basic education and to protect them from all forms of abuse, violence, neglect, and any other act that hinders children from exercising their constitutional and international rights.”
The DepEd has introduced CREDE and CPU, which employ a whole-of-school, whole-of-DepEd, whole-of-government, and whole-of-society approach in calling on all education stakeholders as duty-bearers to uphold the rights of every child, especially in the context of basic education.
The OULA, through CREDe, also contributed to the Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP), a long-term education plan covering 2022-2030, by embedding the RBE framework and making Child Rights one of the pillars of BEDP in addition to the pillars of quality, access, and equity of education.
The CREDe also contributed to reports of the Philippine government to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Leonor Briones commended the efforts of the OULA in promoting the need to protect the rights of children.
“We, in DepEd, take this opportunity to articulate and reiterate that the Department embraces rights-based education and the creation of CREDe, and the CPU is a step forward in articulating and strengthening rights-based education,” Briones said.