VP Sara calls for education inclusivity, promote language teaching

PASAY CITY — Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte urged to “never dim the lights of inclusive education” and teach children using the language they understand.

Duterte, in her keynote speech during the Language and Inclusion Summit, underscored the Department of Education’s MATATAG agenda in basic education which “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.”

“This means that our MATATAG Agenda does not forget, discriminate against, or disregard Indigenous Peoples or our Lumad brothers and sisters, our Muslim communities, or people with disabilities,” she said.

“We hope to see our IP or Lumad learners, Muslim learners, and PWD learners experience the same learning experience we provide other learners,” she added.

The summit aims to showcase the diversity of languages in the Philippines and its integration to basic education in promoting literacy.

Duterte said the program to strengthen the literacy among Filipino children without discrimination “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 also stressed DepEd’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, and the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which devotes efforts to ensure quality and equitable education.

Duterte also cited the implementation of Republic Act 11650 in 2022, also known as “Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act.”

In support to the provisions of the law, she said DepEd is also implementing necessary policies to make schools a welcoming environment for learning. Among these initiatives are the Child Find Policy for Learners with Disabilities Towards Inclusive Education released in 2022, 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.

The summit also features the Learning Resource Exhibit, showcasing literacy materials in different regional languages.