Last December 3-7, 2018, the first celebration of Inclusive Schools Week in the Philippines, spearheaded by The Teacher’s Gallery, transpired in many schools around the Philippines – from Mindanao to Luzon. Overall, there were 15 confirmed schools that participated in the event. All organized unique activities that involved the members of their school – the educators, students, and some involved the parents.
The most popular activities facilitated by the schools were a movie showing, sign language class, and freedom wall. Schools featured movies such as Wonder and Miracle in Cell No. 7 – movies that showcased the importance of the inclusion of persons with disabilities, and what obstacles they face. Basic sign language was taught so students could learn to communicate with those with hearing impairments. Freedom walls were a popular choice, where most showed their commitment to fostering inclusion in their own environments.
Other activities that the were organized during the week were an ISW activity center, social media campaigns, Christmas caroling of the deaf, school advertisement about how they practice inclusion, inclusive education seminars, shirt for a cause fundraising, storytelling about inclusion, small group learning, discussion about handling children with disabilities in inclusive classes, talent showcase, workshop on inclusive education, commitment wall hand painting, inclusive games, and inclusion-themed Christmas decoration.
Inclusive Education is not just the responsibility of teachers and school administrators; it is also the responsibility of students – with or without disability, parents, local government units, policymakers, and the whole community itself. It is a collective action to make the school accessible to all types of learners. Therefore, inclusive education is being pushed to increase the participation of learners.
This year’s celebration was culminated in Daet, Camarines Norte with the help and support of Dr. Rex Bernardo, Convenor or Philippine Network for inclusive Education and Head of Camarines Norte’s Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO). The PDAO invited Camarines Norte State College’s Department of Education to join the half day long celebration.
Dr. Bernado was able to give a short presentation about Inclusive Education. Afterwards, an open forum was conducted to welcome questions and clarify misconceptions about inclusive education as people always think that it is the sole responsibility of teachers and school administrators to implement it. “Inclusive Education is not just the responsibility of teachers and school administrators; it is also the responsibility of students – with or without disability, parents, local government units, policymakers, and the whole community itself. It is a collective action to make the school accessible to all types of learners. Therefore, inclusive education is being pushed to increase the participation of learners” explained by Alyanna Tamayo, TTG’s Communication and Advocacy Officer.
Wrapping up the Inclusive Schools Week’s Culminating Activity, Kathleen Emnas, TTG’s Project Officer, headed the participants to pledge their support through reading the Declaration of Commitment and by signing on the Inclusive Week’s Wall of Commitment.