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VP Sara: Lumad, IPs, Muslims should be part of school community

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Friday stressed the need for  inclusivity in education, saying that Indigenous Peoples (IPs), Lumad, Muslims, and persons with disability (PWD) should experience the same education provided to other learners.

“I believe that basic education only becomes truly meaningful and effective if we can put inclusivity at the center of what we do — if we only make inclusivity the heart and the soul of our reforms and efforts to improve basic education,” Duterte said during her speech at the Language and Inclusion Summit.

Duterte urged to end the culture of “othering that is injurious to people outside of our social status or those who belong to the minority or disadvantaged sectors.”

“We hope to see our IP or Lumad learners, Muslims , and PWDs experience the same learning experience we provide other learners,” she said.

“We want them to be a part of the school community. When harnessed properly, they bring unique insights, ideas, and perspectives to nation-building programs,” she added.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd), the Language and Inclusion Summit aims to showcase the diversity of languages in the Philippines and its integration to basic education in promoting literacy. 

The Education secretary said the department’s programs will strengthen literacy among Filipino children without discrimination.

“Our programs should lift them up, take them away from the sidelines, bail them out from their conditions of hardships and poverty, and ultimately — help them improve their lives,” she said.

Duterte reiterated the DepEd’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, and the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which devote efforts to ensure quality and equitable education.

She said the department is also implementing necessary policies to make schools a welcoming environment for learning.

Duterte said these initiatives are the Child Find Policy for Learners with Disabilities Towards Inclusive Education released in 2022; the creation of the Policy Guidelines on the Selection of and Minimum Requirements for the Conversion of Certain Schools with SPED Centers into Prototype Inclusive Learning Resource Centers in 2021; and the Multi-Factored Assessment Tools in 2018.

“I humbly ask our teachers to maintain their fervor in teaching. May you serve our learners in disadvantaged situations with compassion,” she said.

“We will continue to live in our faith that education is a great enabler rather than a great divider," she added.—LDF, GMA Integrated News