Educators welcome the passage of landmark law for Filipino children, youth with disability

With the passage of the Inclusive Education Act, educators expressed confidence that no Filipino child with a disability will be turned away and left behind in education.

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“The future of children with disabilities is brighter in inclusive classrooms and schools,” said E-Net Philippines President Olivia Lucas.

“Inclusive education not only benefits learners with disabilities but also creates an environment in which every student, including those who do not have disabilities, has the opportunity to flourish,” she added.

The Republic Act No. (RA) 11650 "Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act" mandates that Filipino children with disabilities have access to free, appropriate, quality inclusive education.

This landmark law governs how public agencies and schools provide early intervention, appropriate education, and support services to the five million Filipino children and youth with disabilities, addressing their educational requirements and needs to be effective and successful in inclusive learning environments.

Inclusive Learning Resource Centers (ILRCs) will be established in all school districts, cities, and municipalities to deliver free services in support of inclusive education towards capacitating all schools throughout the nation in educating learners with disabilities.

Other salient features of the new law are the institutionalization of the Child Find System, under which learners with disabilities are identified, located, and evaluated so they can be included in the general basic education system; and an individualized education plan shall be designed, prepared and implemented for the specific needs of each learner.

Likewise, hiring of a multi-disciplinary team for the ILRCs and in-school child development centers, composed of professionals, will be undertaken; and the maintenance of a learning information system.

An Advisory Council for Education of Learners with Disabilities composed of representatives from various disability sectors and academe will also be created inside the Department of Education (DepEd) to help oversee the implementation of the law’s provisions through a multi-year roadmap of targets and outcomes.

Lucas, meanwhile, congratulated all who worked tirelessly, most especially the leaders and members of different disability groups, whose contagious passion in sharing their time, experiences, and expertise has helped propel this significant legislation forward.

“Congratulations to our children and youth with disabilities whose right to education will be promoted, protected, and fulfilled through this landmark law,” she added.

E-Net Philippines also expressed gratitude to the champions in the Philippine Senate led by Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committee Chairperson Senator Sherwin Gatchalian; the House of Representatives led by Education and Culture Committee Chairperson, Representative Roman Romulo, and the Office of the President on the passage of RA 11650.