Solon seeks educational courses for differently abled persons

July 21, 2013 12:11 am 

MANILA, July 20 — A lawmaker stressed urgent need to establish basic technical and vocational courses for differently abled persons in all school districts in the country.

“No less than the Constitution mandates the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and to take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all,” Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Treñas said on filing House Bill 1014.

He said the State is obliged to make education accessible to all, including those who have special needs due to their level of intellectual development, special mental state or other handicaps.

However, tertiary education or entering a TESDA course is not possible for a good number of differently abled Filipinos since high school degree is a prerequisite to enter undertake those, he noted.

“Regrettably, a significant number of our differently abled citizens have handicaps which prevent them from obtaining their high school degrees,” he said.

Treñas noted children who are slow-learners and those with autism, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Deficiency (ADHD) or other special physical, sensory, cognitive or behavioral characteristics which may prevent them from completing high school are at serious disadvantage since they are deprived of the opportunity to learn skills and knowledge that they could use to become self-reliant.

“Most of our young ones who require special education are sent to public elementary and high schools because it is simply too expensive for most Filipinos to send their special children to a Special Education school,” he said.

Under HB 1014, secondary schools with technical and vocational courses shall accommodate all differently abled persons within the school district.

The courses shall be designed to cater to learning capabilities of the subject sector and shall be harmonized and integrated as special courses for differently abled persons within the enhanced education system under R.A. 10533 (Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013).

Department of Education, in consultation with other concerned government agencies and private institutions, can design and provide basic technical and vocational courses and hold these classes in a designated high school per school district.

“These courses need not be intricate such as those provided by TESDA since the target learners are differently abled persons,” Treñas said.

Treñas pushed for immediate passage of the bill as he noted the Philippines is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, having ratified this on April 15, 2008.

The UN Convention provides that States must undertake to ensure and promote full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons with disabilities and that appropriate legislation should be enacted for this purpose, Treñas said.

“Let us give our differently abled citizens a chance to live a normal and self-reliant life. By equipping them with basic technical and vocation knowledge, they will have sufficient means to be productive even if they fail to graduate from high school,” Treñas said.(PNA)

CJT/HOR PR/PJN

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