A study by researchers from the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) implores the government to implement more programs and activities to increase awareness about special education students, reportsRappler.
Researchers and study authors Adrian Agbon and Christian Mina recommend that the provision of more “mobile SPED schools, especially in far-flung areas, to cater to all types of students with disabilities,” as well as the involvement of local government units to establish SPED facilities that are inclusive of all types of disabilities.
Rapplerreports that according to a study by Save the Children Philippines (SCP), the hindrances faced by SPED students in the country include inappropriate student group size, the absence of safe learning environments, and an insufficient budget for inclusive education.
SCP Basic Education Technical Adviser Sierra Mae Paraanadds that teachers also encounter obstacles that prevent them from teaching SPED students effectively, including poor classroom management, inadequate use of materials, the lack of instructional dialogue, and lack of proficiency in sign language.
These educators are then unaware that the practices they use in the classroom, like labeling children and grouping them according to ability, can be considered forms of discrimination.
In addition to more programs, the ALRES Philippines study also recommends that the government strengthen the training provided for teachers of children with special needs and create learning modules on basic healthcare and entrepreneurial skills.
In previous years, other organizations have also urged the government to implement more activities for SPED students. In a June 2019 report by ABS-CBN News, special education expert consultant Genevieve Rivadelo-Caballa of the Alternative Learning Resource School (ALRES) Philippines expressed the need for proper education and healthcare for individuals with special needs.
“The government has to take care of the least,” Caballa said. “We can see how progressive a society is depending on how well the government is able to take care [of] the least of its members, and that includes persons with disabilities, especially those from the poorer segment of society because they are doubly marginalized. So it is the responsibility of the government to provide accessible healthcare and education for them.”
In that report, Alberto Muyot, CEO of Save the Children also emphasized the importance of inclusive education that will welcome and support all students through ensuring that the teaching methods, curricula, and school facilities being implemented are appropriate for children at all levels.
“Importante sa mga bata, as much as possible, na kahit na mayroon silang mga kapansanan ay nakakasama rin sila sa mga ibang bata,” said Muyot.
A Senate bill filed last year seeks to implement a more inclusive education, especially for children with special needs. Click here to learn more.