“I can say with all sincerity: I will give my life for children.”
This is what Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC said when he was asked if the Department of Education (DepEd) can protect the students from armed conflicts during the deliberation of the 2016 proposed budget for the Department of Education at the House of Representatives.
Luistro said, “Without any second thoughts, a teacher’s first move is to protect children.” The education chief reiterated that all schools are zones of peace, adding that education and children should not be casualties in any conflict nor be subjected to any form of violence.
With the continued investment of the government in basic education, DepEd continues to strengthen education reforms to ensure a safer and learner-centered education for Filipino children.
In line with this, DepEd has adopted a comprehensive Child Protection Policy that enshrines the universal rights of the child and condemns any form of threat against children in schools. In 2014, DepEd trained over 1,100 national trainers in child protection policy. Guidelines and procedures on the management of Children-At-Risk and Children in Conflict with the Law was also released by the department this year.
Providing more access to hard-to-reach learners through the Abot-Alam Program, Special Education, and Indigenous Peoples’ Education (IPed) is among the agency’s last mile efforts.
As of the first quarter of 2015, among those who enrolled are 30% of the 2.67 million out-of-school youth (OSY) mapped. To date, there are 1.2 million IP learners and 470,276 Alternative Learning
Empowering schools and education leaders for continued reforms
Luistro said that there has been a 110% increase in the education budget from 2009 to 2015—from P174.5 billion to P367.1 billion. He said, “We will always endeavor to make sure that every cent is spent for the rightful purpose.”
DepEd sustains the foundations of reforms by empowering not only the learners but also DepEd teachers and personnel, and public schools nationwide through various programs that aim to improve learning, curriculum delivery and processes.
DepEd has achieved a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:36 for elementary public schools and 1:27 in secondary schools in 2015. It has also proposed the creation of over 60,000 teacher items for 2016.
Education leadership and management is strengthened through the Superintendents’ Leadership Program (SLP) having trained 218 Superintendents and other school officials deployed in 174 Division Offices across all 17 Regions.
DepEd is also enhancing its curriculum delivery and organizational processes in response to continuous engagement from learners and key stakeholders through the implementation of the Continuous Improvement Program (CIP).