DepEd funds high schools offering SPED

A January 2, 2012 press release from the Department of Education

The Department of Education [DepEd] has completed its financial assistance to differently-abled learners for school year 2012-2013 through the release of funds to secondary schools that offer special education [SPED].

Secretary of Education Armin Luistro said the 153 secondary schools which submitted enrolment data shall be granted subsidy for the effective delivery of service to students with exceptionalities.

“When we say exceptionalities, we mean students who have difficulty learning because either they are visually or hearing- impaired, have autism or Down Syndrome, or other learning disabilities and therefore need special educational attention,” explained Luistro.

Based on DepEd Order 98, schools serving differently-abled individuals would be receiving subsidies corresponding to the certain number of exceptionalities being catered to. Schools providing for one exceptionality will receive a subsidy of P50,000 for school year 2012-2013. While institutions which serve to students with two, three, and four exceptionalities would receive P100,000, P150,000 and P200,000, respectively. Schools which provide for five or more exceptionalities shall obtain P250,000.

The same order stipulates that the percentage of allotment shall not exceed 35% for the purchase of assistive devices and psychological/IQ tools. For the training and professional upgrading of teachers and school heads, travel expenses relative to participation/attendance to conferences, study visits, and other activities relevant to the implementation of the SPED program, the fund allotment shall not exceed 25%. For the conduct of in-service training in the development of instructional materials and learning evaluation, fund allocation should not exceed 20%.

Meanwhile, funding not exceeding 20% shall be earmarked for student development, leadership training, education visits, and student participation in SPED-related activities.

Luistro reminds school heads that a liquidation report on the utilization of subsidy as well as enrolment report should be submitted to the DepEd’s Bureau of Secondary Education.

“I want strict compliance on this as part of transparency and accountability among our personnel,” said the Education chief.

The country’s 276 recognized SPED centers continue to receive subsidy from the DepEd to enable these schools to deliver quality educational services to children with special learning needs.

Luistro said the DepEd is now on its third year of providing financial subsidy to SPED Centers which this year amounts to P115 million. “The amount we are providing to each SPED Center is proportionate to the number of enrollees and the exceptionalities being served in a particular center.”

Luistro added that the DepEd has set aside allocations on the kind of intervention/activity where the subsidy will be used.

For pupil development activities, training, educational visits, camp activities, sports, and pupil participation in SPED-related activities, 30% from the allotment will be set aside. Moreover, the DepEd will earmark 25% for the procurement of assistive technology devices like Perkins Brailler, Braille display, speech synthesizer, canes, magnifiers, writing slate and stylus, abacus, Job Access with Speech program (JAWS), computer, sports, musical instruments, speech trainer, vestibular balls, sensory integration materials, early stimulation devices, adapted PE apparatuses, sewing machines, stove, cooking wares, and carpentry tools for the work centers/transition program.

On the other hand, 25% would be for the procurement of instructional and reference materials, psychological tests, early intervention materials, and science manipulative materials.

The remaining 20% is for the professional upgrading of teachers and school heads and travel expenses relative to their participation/attendance to activities relevant to the implementation of the program, training of classroom parent aides, availing of services of allied personnel such as psychologist, occupational, physical, speech, and behavioral therapists.

“These efforts are geared towards creating an environment for inclusive education. This means opening all the avenues of learning to all kinds of learners,” Luistro explained.

The Philippines, through the Department of Education, is one of the signatories to the United Nations-initiated Millennium Development Goals, of which Education For All by 2015 is one of the goals.