As part of his advocacy to provide quality education to everyone, a senator is pushing for the creation of learning resource centers for Filipino children with special needs to give them a chance to learn regardless of their circumstance.
“Sa edukasyon, importante na mabigyan ng sapat na pagkakataon ang lahat, maging anuman ang kalagayan nila sa buhay, upang matuto at makapag-aral,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, author of Senate Bill 1414, which seeks to make education inclusive and accessible to every Filipino child by establishing a framework for special needs education implementation nationwide.
Sen. Bam said the Department of Education (DepEd) reported an estimated 350,000 students with special needs while Save the Children revealed that only one of three Filipino children with special needs has a chance to go to school.
In addition, Sen. Bam said only one in seven of those children attending school has access to specialized education that caters to their varied needs.
“Sadly, our country’s education system is currently under-equipped to cater to the individual and unique requirements of students with special needs,” said Sen. Bam, adding that parents find it difficult to provide their children the education they need given only a few public schools have SPED centers.
“The SPED program and most of our educators also lack the necessary skills and training to accommodate students with exceptionalities,” explained Sen. Bam.
In accordance with the mandate of our Constitution, Presidential Decree No. 603, and the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, Sen. Bam said the measure will push for the establishment of inclusive education learning resource centers.
These centers will serve as source of appropriate instructional materials, tools, devices, gadgets, and equipment that educators can use in their classrooms to ensure that students with special needs are properly supported and enabled to learn alongside their peers.
“It is our duty to become their partners in achieving this goal to provide a brighter future for our children and our country,” said Sen. Bam, who was chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress until February.
As Committee on Education chairman, Sen. Bam pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1304 or the Affordable Higher Education for All as principal sponsor and co-author. The measure was approved by the Senate on third and final reading via an 18-0 vote.
If enacted into law, it will institutionalize free tuition in SUCs all over the country, giving underprivileged students a chance to earn a college degree.
It will also streamline and strengthen all Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP), making it available to students who want to pursue higher education in private institutions, as well as subsidizing other expenses of SUC students.