Urgent Passage Of The Free Special Education Act (HB6771) Sought

Tha Kabataan Partylist as represented by Congressman Raymond V. Palatino filed a law today  that will greatly benefit children and youth with special needs, their parents and caregivers and  special education educators, House Bill 6771 or Free Special Education Act.  As a parent of a child with autism I support this bill and also call for the urgent passage of this law.

Here is a part of  Rep. Palatino’s explanatory note:
The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.
Like everyone else, children and youth with special needs have the right to participate and contribute to society. As such, it is the obligation of the State to ensure the equality of their access to social services and life-improvement opportunities, their full participation in decisions concerning their welfare, and the eventual possibility of their economic self-sufficiency. One important way to guarantee these rights and privileges is through education – specifically, special education (SPED).
Unfortunately, the reality that is the present state of special education in the country leaves much to be desired for concerned parents and children alike. A 1988 study conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that special education in the Philippines, although provided for in legislation, lacks basic funding to be able to properly address the needs of special children and youth. In particular, the study cited the lack of support for training of teachers and other personnel and the lack of diagnostic centers in various regions and schools to work hand in hand with the mainstreaming programs. The study also pointed out the need to attend to the indifference of school administrators to programs for children and youth with special needs.

Here are some exerps from the House Bill 6771 or Free Special Education Act that is very much needed today.

Section 6. Creation of the Bureau of Special Education. – To attain the objectives of this Act, the Bureau of Special Education (BSE), hereinafter referred to as the Bureau, is hereby created to institutionalize and govern special education in the Philippines. The Bureau is primarily tasked in the formulation and administration of an appropriate curriculum and developmentally-suited programs to primarily achieve functional literacy of the students/children with special needs and enswe their integration to society. The full continuum of educational services shall also be made available by the bureau to those Children and youth with special needs’ below school age through regular home visits, consultations, day care activities and any other proper medium or program.

Section 7. Creation of SPED Centers. At least one (1) special education (SPED) center for each school division and at least three (3) SPED centers in big school divisions shall be established in regular schools, where there are no existing SPED centers. These SPED centers shall be administered by the principal of the regular school.

Each SPED Center shall have the following staff who shall have a (3) starting salary 20 classification of Grade 13:

(1) 1 SPED teacher for the Mentally Gifted;

(2) 1 SPED teacher for the Mentally Retarded/Handicapped;

(3) 1 SPED teacher €or the Visually Impaired;

(4) 1 SPED teacher for the Hearing Impaired;

(5) 1 SPED teacher for the Autistic Children;

(6) 1 SPED teacher for the Learning Disabled;

(7) 1 SPED teacher for children with behavior problems.

Section 11.  Assistance for Students’ Auxiliary Needs. – The Bureau shall ensure any additional financial assistance outside tuition or matriculation to students with special needs at the elementary and secondary levels including any post-secondary or tertiary education which may come in the form of transportation allowance, food allowance, board and lodging allowance, book allowance, artistic and cultural tours, training and programs, and other incentives. Marginalized disabled persons and those coming from indigenous communities shall be the priority in the grant of the aforesaid assistance.

Section 12.  Medical Assistance. – The Bureau shall prepare a scheme that will ensure adequate and free medical assistance and intervention programs, including those essential to the student or child’s rehabilitation like therapy, psychometric assessments, medical examinations and the like with government clinics, hospitals and other health facilities. In case the medical needs are not offered by the nearest or accessible government clinics, hospitals and other health facilities, or cannot be obtained by reason of critical immediacy or the need to obtain a more specialized or advanced treatment, they can avail for no additional charges of the services of private clinics, hospitals and other specialized agencies through tax incentives. For this purpose, health care insurance programs shall be instituted by the Bureau.

Section 15.  Recreational and Artistic Opportunities. – The Bureau shall institute a program for students or children with special needs to afford them full opportunities for recreation and activities, individual as well social, for the use of their leisure hours for the advancement of their physical, mental, social and cultural development.

Section 16.  Continuing Education and Assistance to Teachers/Instructors of Students with Special Needs. – The Bureau shall enhance the right of the teachers and instructors to professional advancement and ensure that the teaching staff will attract the best available talents through adequate remuneration, scholarship and training grants, teacher exchange programs, incentives and allowances and other means of securing job satisfaction and fulfillment as well as their long and stable tenure in their respective posts. A similar program shall be designed for support personnel like interpreters, psychologists, social workers and others also involved in the education and rehabilitation of the child.

Section 17.  Parent, Sibling and Caregiver Education. – There shall be a free formal training and counseling program for parents, siblings and caregivers for them to acquire a working knowledge of special education, gain an understanding of the psychology of children with special needs, be aware of their crucial role as educators and gain knowledge and skills on how each parent, sibling, or caregiver could maximize his/her services for the optimum development of the potentials of the child.

Section 19 .  Local Government Unit Participation. – The local government units shall be responsible for the:
(A) Provision of buildings or centers and sites where there are no existing school facilities that will house the special education of children /students with special needs, as well as the establishment of day care centers as mentioned in Sec. 15;
(B) Organization of one (1) parent-teacher association in every school in their respective jurisdictions offering special education to students and children with special needs;
(C) Provision of counterpart funds for the training and seminars of parents and teachers and nutritional programs for the students/children with special needs in their respective localities to be determined by the Bureau, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Finance.

To read the full text of HB6771 you can visit the Kabataan Party List Website.

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  1. really i am thankful when the bill pass. It really helped
    those parents with a special child like me. i have a special child “global developmental delay, mental retarded as per Neurodev doctor diagnosed at PCMC.

    I am so worried bec as he’s not attending school because he’s sick have bronchietasis. always we went to hospital for check up. He’s 5ys old and he wants to go to school.

    Really i am financially unstable always buy diff antibiotics
    and really cost so much for me.

    I am looking forward to apply my son to go to special education for free and to apply at least foster parents, hope so..

    GOD bless!!

    Thank You.

  2. eloisa

    i will support your goals all the way….

  3. thanks for the link! let’s all work together to get this bill passed asap.
    .-= kabataancrew´s last blog ..Youth solon condemns violent dispersal o… =-.

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