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DEPED URGED: GET LWD ENROLLEES TO PRE-COVID LEVEL

As early as now, the Department of Education (DepEd) should work towards increasing the number of enrolled learners with disabilities (LWDs) to pre-pandemic levels, a party-list of educators said.

“With the signing into law of Republic Act 11650, the DepEd should focus on getting more LWDs to enroll for the school year 2022-2023. We have barely a quarter left until August, but we trust that DepEd has not been idle in identifying potential enrollees as part of its new mandate,” said Marie Paz T. Abante, president and first nominee of the Philippine Educators Alliance for Community Empowerment (PEACE) Party-list.

The education department said earlier that the number of enrolled LWDs dropped by almost 74 percent to 93,895 in the current school year from 360,879 before the pandemic that forced the closure of schools and imposed other restrictions in March 2020.

PEACE party-list made the call amid the declining enrollment of LWDs.

The new school year is eyed to start on August 22.

The education department said earlier that the number of enrolled LWDs dropped by almost 74 percent to 93,895 in the current school year from 360,879 before the pandemic that forced the closure of schools and imposed other restrictions in March 2020.

DepEd also noted a decline in the number of schools enrolling LWDs to 13,408 from 21,270 in the same period.

Abante said that as a “minimum target,” the agency should seek to re-integrate at least twice the number of enrollees this school year.

She also urged DepEd to ensure that schools conducting in-person classes for LWDs would be safe and accessible.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11650, or “An Act Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education,” in March.

“Kasama sa paraan ng paghikayat sa mga magulang ng mga LWDs na i-enroll ang kanilang mga anak ang pagpapakita na maayos at ligtas ang mga pasilidad para sa kanilang pag-balik-eskwela,” the long-time educator said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11650, or “An Act Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education,” in March.

The new law mandates the provision of support services for LWDs and requires the implementation of various inclusive education programs. It also requires the establishment of at least one Inclusive Learning Resource Center in every city and municipality.

DepEd said the new law would benefit around 5.5 million LWDs nationwide.

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