School Administrators Beefing up Enrollment of Children with Disabilities

Teachers and Schools Administrators crafting a strategic mechanism to increase the enrollment of children with disabilities by June 2011 and beyond

In line with the provisions of the Magna Carta Law for the Persons with Disabilities, guided by the newly enacted United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and the Philippine Decade of Persons with Disability (2003-2012), the Philippine Council of Cheshire homes for the disabled (PhilOCCHED) and the Department of Education-Bureau of Elementary Education (DepEd-BEE) agreed to line out strategic and short term actions to fully implement the inclusive education program in 30 identified schools in National Capital region (NCR), Central Luzon (Region 3) and the CAlABARZON Region (Region 4-A).

PhilCOCHED and DepEd invited principals, regular teachers, and special education teachers from 30 schools to attend the Joint Planning on Inclusive Education between Philippine Council of Cheshire Homes for the Disabled and the Department of Education, held at MC Lodge Hotel, Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan, on March 20, 2010, and at the Immaculate Concepcion Training Center in Quezon City on May 6, 2010, respectively. More than 200 teachers regular teachers participated in the said activity. The initial objective of the said planning is to draw out strategies in implementing the program in their respective schools, and eventually sustain efforts to replicate the Program in nearby schools within the District and Divisions.

Methods:

Both batches employed similar methods during the planning sessions. Facilitators used the technology 0f participation method in drawing our individual ideas of the participants.  Likewise, to draw out impressions and opinions on various texts and pre-written documents e.g. the DepEd Memorandum Order No. 72, some facilitators employed actual reading and text interpretations. This method enabled the participants to raise their comprehension on several provisions of the document and draw out leveling-off and understanding of the whole document.  Break out sessions were also used in order to cluster the individual ideas and enabling the participants to mingle and reach out with other schools.

Thematic Areas and Strategies

During the planning, the participants were able to come up with 6 thematic areas where the specific activities will be brought out. Upon processing the said thematic areas, we were able to cluster them and come up with the strategic directions in the areas of Training of teachers, School Modification and Accessibility Facilities, Curriculum Modification and/or adjustments, Disability Support Services, and Advocacy and Policy Development.

Based from the developed Macro-work plan for the implementation of Inclusive education, the participants were grouped according to their respective schools to develop a School Improvement Plan for their respective schools, in line with IE implementation. The highlight of which are just specific activities framed under each of the thematic areas identified above. The said specific activities will constitute the schools targets until the June 2010 enrolment and beyond, with the primary goal of increasing the enrolment rate of children with disabilities in their respective schools.

Significant Results

By the end of the current year, PHILCOCHED’s inclusive education program was able to obtain more than 700 enrolment from out of school children with disabilities, as reported by the participating school administrators and focal teachers involved in the program. By early next year, the program is set to consolidate again the efforts of the administrators and teachers as well as to document the gains and challenges during the implementation of the Inclusive Education Program in 30 schools.  Accepting the challenges of the transition from PhilCOCHED to the Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation (LCDPF), the Inclusive Education Program is confident to maximize the efforts of the school administrators in furthering the enrollment of children with disabilities in the Philippines.