In line with its efforts to protect learners, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte underscored the initiatives by the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure schools remain a safe environment for learners.
“In November last year, we launched the Learner Rights and Protection Office with its own website and a hotline called the Learners Telesafe Contact Center Helpline,” said Duterte said in a speech during the celebration of the International Day of Education (IDE) at the DepEd Central Office.
The IDE is observed every Jan. 24 under the proclamation adopted during the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 3, 2018.
Participated by other education stakeholders, students, teachers, school administrators, and partners from local and international institutions, this year’s IDE is anchored on the theme: “to invest in people, prioritize education.”
Duterte noted that as of December 2022, DepEd’s hotline has received 78 complaints.
Moreover, Duterte noted that the second batch of the Child Protection Specialization Course for focal persons in the Central Offices, Regional Offices, and Schools Division Offices is ongoing.
“Our Child Protection Specialists will, in turn, empower Child Protection Committees in schools, to protect our learners from abuse and support their overall well-being,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Duterte also underscored the importance of strengthening the country’s education because its drives the path to growth and development.
“Education is the driving force behind a country’s growth and development, and with more than 30 million young people, the largest in our country’s history, we are poised to benefit from this demographic dividend,” she explained.
Duterte noted that at the UN Transforming Education Summit in September 2022, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. announced the government’s “commitment to recover the learning losses from the pandemic and rebuild our education to be more inclusive, relevant, and resilient to future shocks and disruptions.”
In line with this, Duterte said that the education sector had received an increased budget for 2023 to “actively support” more learning programs and boost the capacities of the teaching force.
Following the eight-point socioeconomic agenda of the Marcos administration, Duterte said that the DepEd received an increased budget for the fiscal year 2023.
From P631 billion in 2022, Duterte said that DepEd now has a budget of P719 billion for 2023 — making the education sector’s percentage share of the total government appropriations within the recommended 15 to 20 percent.
Given this, Duterte expressed confidence that this is “only the beginning of our renewed commitment to investing more in education and prioritizing the development of a future-ready workforce.”