Press Release
September 12, 2012


Recapping the need to make education more inclusive, Senator Edgardo J. Angara sponsored yesterday the Special Education Act (SBN 3002) that will cater to the educational needs of special children.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, underscored that this measure will make the country's educational system more inclusive by institutionalizing special education in all public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

"The time is right for some sweeping reforms to take place. We miss out on a golden opportunity if we fail to capitalize on the momentum for change, especially in making our educational system more accessible," said Angara.

The Department of Education reported that as of 2010, there were an estimated 5.4 million Filipino children with special needs (CSN), representing 13 percent of the total child population.

Angara, a former UP President, noted that around 4.2 million of them are persons with disabilities (PWDs) explaining that they are either blind, deaf, mute, handicapped or are challenged with conditions like autism.

Meanwhile, around 1.2 million children were considered gifted - those who demonstrated superior academic performance; are highly creative and motivated; or have the talent for leadership and organization.

Angara added, "Gifted or disabled, they are our special children. They have needs so specific and specialized, modified schooling practices and special services are necessary for them to enjoy the full benefits of education. For their full potential to be realized, these children have to be taught and nurtured differently from the average child." The Special Education Act calls for the creation of a Bureau of Special Education (BSPED), which will be tasked with formulating and administering a curriculum, appropriate for children and youth with special needs (CYSN).

The measure also seeks for Special Education (SPED) Centers to be set up in school divisions where they do not yet exist--at least one in each school division and at least three in big school divisions.

These centers will provide support to the regular schools in the form of trainings, tailor-made teaching materials, and assessment services. The administrative core and placement committee of the SPED Centers will include an educational psychologist, a social worker, an education supervisor and a city or municipal health officer.

"The proposed measure will also give authority to the Department of Education (DepEd) to collaborate with either public or private agencies in setting up and administering the SPED Centers. Public-private partnerships may also be undertaken towards educating and rehabilitating our special children," Angara said.

He concluded, "This measure will institutionalize various mechanisms for a meaningful SPED program nationwide and ensure that every child is given a fair chance at educating themselves. This only makes it important for the measure to be approved swiftly."

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