DepEd trains SPED teachers to help students see own potential

Anchored on its Education For All (EFA) by 2015 Millennium Development Goal, the Department of Education (DepEd) is in serious business of setting a plan of action that will set targets and milestones in basic education, not leaving the quality of education for children with disabilities behind.

"When the Philippine government gave its commitment to meet the EFA goal by 2015, it also meant giving educational opportunities to those with physical disabilities. We believe that we can only honestly say that we are on the track towards the realization of that commitment to the world if we have been able to provide education for all children of school-age with equity and accessibility. That is, if we have been able to deliver the appropriate education to all children regardless of their race, size, shape, color, ability or disability," said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

Mandated to provide the frontline service to the Filipino people, DepEd continues to push for educational reforms in basic education, one of which is to equip teachers with proper competencies to better respond to the needs of their learners, particularly the children who require special attention or those who fall under what they call children with special needs (CSN).

As the department intensifies its efforts to make EFA a reality, DepEd through the Special Education (SPED) Division of the Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE), in cooperation with the Resources for the Blind, Inc. (RBI) will hold its 8th National Teachers' Congress on Visual Impairment on November 5-7, 2010 in Tagaytay City.

This congress aims to provide the teacher-participants with knowledge on providing their visually impaired learners the kind of education interventions and skills for productive life.
"It has always been said that our children are our future. Hence, we should always provide them educational programs that will promote their welfare and enhance their opportunities for a meaningful life regardless of their physical capabilities, furthered Luistro.

He also added that DepEd has always been supportive to children with special needs "We should never give up on them. It is important that we act on their plight because our role to these visually-impaired students is important to make them feel that they, too, can reach their full potentials."
In fact, it has already institutionalized a specialized curriculum and developmentally-suited programs to achieve functional literacy for all CSNs through SPED-BEE.

Luistro believes that the congress will certainly provide an avenue for identifying effective means and strategies to overcome pressing issues that affect the delivery of education services to school children whose eyesight have been impaired. It will also enhance knowledge on managing programs and services for children with visual impairment in the mainstream classes.

Further, it will create a synergy among teachers, parents, administrators, supervisors and professionals on the sustainability and enhancement of programs and services for children with visual impairment. Also, part of the program is to recognize exemplary performances of SPED teachers.

Aside from SPED and regular teachers, school administrators from both public and private schools, education supervisors in SPED at the division and regional offices, chiefs/assistant chiefs of the elementary and secondary education divisions, schools division/city superintendents and assistant schools division/city superintendents are also invited to attend. Government and non-government organizations working with children who are visually impaired are invited as well.

Luistro commends its teachers for committing themselves to help create a difference in these children's lives. "We owe it to our teachers for responding to this big challenge. The dedication they put to best serve our visually impaired school children will spell the difference in shaping their future. With this, I appeal to them to carry on the faith so that students will also believe that even with their handicap, they can still excel in areas where they find much interest and they too have a big role to play in building our country." (DepEd)