Child Rights Organizations Call For Ensuring Children’s Safety And Provision Of Inclusive Learning Modalities For The Opening Of Schools
SOS child learning to use the computer
School closures, although necessary for their
safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, deprive children of opportunities for
learning and development. It is therefore important to strike the balance
between children’s health and safety, and their right to education.
To address concerns regarding school
openings, the Department of Education (DepEd) has developed the Basic Education
Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) that will be implemented for the school year
2020-2021, or beginning on October 5, 2020. The document contains different
strategies that can be applied depending on the current resources, capacities, and
public health conditions for each locality. Schools are encouraged to adopt
distance learning approaches, depending on the modalities that will be relevant
for their students. The ECCD (Early Childhood Care and Development) Council has
also developed standards for home-based learning which can be easily
facilitated by the parents.
While the opening of classes are crucial to
children’s development, it may also put their health at risk ifthe proper safety protocols are not
observed. Children may be exposed to the virus not only within school premises,
but also on their way to and from their schools.
of these, we, the Joining
Forces Alliance, support the continued learning of children with the opening of
classes on August 24, provided that the following recommendations will be
We urge the
Department of Education to:
implement and monitor the BE-LCP in basic education schools and facilities,
including the localization of implementation plans and that all said plans are
operationalized in the school level.
- Plan and
implement appropriate learning modalities depending on local contexts,
especially for learners with issues in literacy and numeracy.
teachers’ capacity to accommodate a variety of teaching modalities and strategies,
including adoption of inclusive, participatory and out-of-the-box approaches
for teaching and learning.
- Conduct mapping of students’ needs and
capacities to inform the planning of appropriate learner-centered and gender
fairlearning modalities in the local level.
- Provide capacity development support to
mental health and psychosocial support for learners, teachers, and
- Continue the
implementation of DepEd Special Education Programs and consider the needs of
children in difficult circumstances (such as those with disabilities,
internally displaced, in conflict with the law, under the care of institutions,
and residing in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas) in the design
of any learning delivery modalities based on the new normal measures.
- Ensure that
all learners have the necessary tools and materials to cope with the learning
delivery modality across all localities.
- Continue the
implementation of DepEd Order #40 to ensure protection of children from
violence and abuse, and create child safeguarding guidelines to protect
learners in using online platforms, especially against the risk of
cyberbullying and online sexual exploitation. This must also include the strengthening
of child-friendly complaints and feedback mechanisms.
partnerships with civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector for
the provision of financial and technical resources. Provide regular reports,
updates, as well as sex- and age-disaggregated data, and other information so
partners could help provide inputs to enhancing education programming.
- Include CSOs
in Monitoring and Evaluation of DepEd Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan
(BE-LCP), in accordance to Republic Act 9155, or the “Governance of Basic
Education Act of 2001.”
- Review the
utilization guidelines for the Special Education Fund (R.A. 5447) to make it
more responsive to the learning requirements of the blended learning approach.
We call on
the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Early Childhood Care
and Development Council to:
- Enjoin day
care centers to submit their learning continuity plans based on the appropriate
learning delivery modalities.
- Invest in capacity
building for digital skills and technology for early childhood development
- Mobilize CSWDO/MSWDO
staff to implement quality home-based programs, provide curated ECCD and parenting
parent support groups, and incorporate psychosocial support to caregivers, their
children, and ECD workforce as part of the response.
- Establish a guidance
that will ensure pregnant and lactating mothers, infants, and young children will
continue to receive the holistic early childhood services in their communities
(i.e., pre and post natal care, immunization and vaccination, etc.)
We urge the
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to:
with DepEd and other agencies in the identification of industry partners and
assessment centers for the Senior High School programs.
local government units to coordinate with DepEd Region and Division levels and
- Conduct COVID-19 testing for teachers who are
showing symptoms or had exposure to COVID-19 patients.
- Appropriate Special Education Funds and
Gender and Development Fund to support learners with disabilities and female
students. Also maximize other available funding sources stated in the Local
Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) to aid in the learning continuity of children.
- Provide higher budget allocation for ECCD
programs and services.
We also urge
all parents and caregivers to:
- Ensure the
safety of their children while learning at home.
- Support and
assist in the learning of their children at home, especially for those who are
undergoing distance learning.
Joining Forces Alliance
The Joining Forces Alliance on the Elimination of
Violence Against Children is a global alliance of child-focused international
non-governmental organizations. We are advocating for a renewed commitment of
governments to achieve the rights of children. We are composed of ChildFund
Alliance, Educo, Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Children’s
Villages, Terre des Hommes International Federation, and World Vision.