PASIG CITY, November 23, 2020 – In light of the annual celebration of the National Children’s Month, the Department of Education (DepEd), together with its dedicated partners, will hold the Second National Summit on the Rights of the Child in Education on November 23 and 24, 2020, every 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

With the theme: Isulong! Karapatan ng Bawat Bata sa Edukasyon sa Panahon ng COVID-19 (Advance the Rights of Every Child in Education in the Time of COVID-19!), the Second National Summit on the Rights of the Child in Education aims to reinforce the continuing commitment of the Philippine government, including the DepEd, and other stakeholders, in upholding children’s rights, with focus on their rights in the context of education in normal times and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We aim to build on the gains of the First National Summit held last year as we push forward in shaping policies and programs to more strongly promote children’s rights in education. The Summit will significantly discuss the importance of upholding rights-based education (RBE) not only during normal times but also during public emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Josephine Maribojoc said.

Undeterred by the pandemic, the DepEd will push through with the holding of the Summit, albeit virtually. Supported by UNICEF Philippines, Save the Children Philippines (SCP), Stairway Foundation Inc. (SFI), and DepEd Region X, the Second National Summit will be conducted through an online platform and is expected to have 1000 virtual participants. There will also be a readily available live stream on the DepEd Philippines Facebook Page.

“The DepEd is tirelessly dedicated to upholding children’s rights in education despite the unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be an obstacle in safeguarding the rights of the children in education, such as accessing continuous quality education, remaining physically and mentally healthy, and being safe from violence and abuse in the different learning modalities. Through meaningful whole-of-society collaborative efforts, the DepEd continues to respect, protect, and fulfill children’s rights in education with our partner agencies and organizations.  Nothing can get in the way of children’s enjoyment of their rights. After all, children continue to be children during the pandemic and they should continue to enjoy their rights,” Usec. Maribojoc emphasized.

The Summit is the highlight event of the DepEd for the National Children’s Month, which is celebrated in November every year. It is also a continuation of the DepEd’s series of programs to promote RBE. In September, the DepEd organized a webinar series on Child Rights and Child Protection in Education to help train DepEd personnel on children’s rights in education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another webinar series was conducted by DepEd to help educate parents, guardians, and caregivers on positive discipline in education. These webinar series garnered more than one million total views online.

Participants of the Summit are expected to come from different public and private basic education schools, and the central, regional, and schools division offices. There will also be representatives from other government offices, civil society, and international and private organizations. More importantly, children themselves, as well as parents, guardians, and caregivers of children, will participate in the two-day Summit.

Distinguished speakers in the Summit include Dr. Philip Jaffé who will deliver a lecture on the role of child rights in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Jaffé is a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Geneva-based body created by the Convention on the Rights of the Child to facilitate the fulfillment of children’s rights.  Dr. Robert Jenkins, Global Chief of Education and Associate Director of the UNICEF Headquarters in New York, will also deliver a lecture on the effects of COVID-19 on children’s education around the world and the responses of various countries.

The keynote message will be delivered by DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones. High officials from the three branches of the Philippine government – including Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, and Congressman Roman Romulo as chairpersons of the basic education committees in their respective houses in Congress, and the Office of the President Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Ong – as well as prominent officials in private and international organizations, children-learners and parents are also among the speakers on the rights of the child.

DepEd’s partner organizations have strongly expressed their support for the Second National Summit and for the overall child rights in education goals in the Philippines.

UNICEF highlighted that a rights-based education approach calls for the integration of the right of access to education, the right to quality of education, and the right of every child to have her or his individual human rights respected within the education system. The fulfillment of children’s rights to and within education at all levels can only be achieved by a comprehensive and multisectoral approach.

“UNICEF is proud to be a part of the 2nd National Child Rights in Education Summit as we seek to empower children to claim their right to education, more importantly during emergencies and amid the global pandemic. We urgently need to join forces to tackle learning challenges in the Philippines, ensure education does not stop, build capacities and strengthen equitable access to quality education for all children,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.

“We believe that RBE is an effective learning approach in teaching Filipino children their basic human rights. In support of this, Save the Children Philippines has published the Gabay sa Mundo ng Karapatang Pambata for Filipino children to better understand the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In line with Save the Children’s ambition for 2030, this year’s summit also covers our global breakthroughs for children: survive – where no child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday; learn – where all children receive quality basic education; and be protected – where violence against children is no longer tolerated,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines.

Save the Children Philippines works with national government agencies, such as DepEd, local governments, CSOs, and development partners in promoting children’s rights.

“For more than 30 years, we at Stairway Foundation have been working on the promotion and protection of children’s rights. When the RBE approach was launched, SFI supported and acknowledged this initiative as this falls in line with what we have been doing as an organization working with and for children. In accordance with RBE, SFI works on increasing access and quality of education via our local community assistance program and our work with the indigenous Mangyan communities of Puerto Galera; provides opportunities for children in former street situations to access ALS via our family home program; promotes mainstreaming of environmental awareness amongst learners via our Environmental Awareness for Children and Youth program (EACY); and works on the promotion of child protection and child sexual abuse prevention via our Break the Silence campaign, collaborating with the Department of Education on child protection and CyberSafety. RBE resonates with Stairway’s vision of a safe environment for children worldwide where their rights are equally respected.”

“As a partner to the Summit, SFI shows strong support to this year’s theme. Our speaker, Mr. Ysrael Diloy, Senior Advocacy Officer from SFI, will be talking about the best practices and challenges in child protection in cyberspace, as well as other forms of home-based sexual violence against children. We will also provide on record our statement of commitment and support on child’s rights and RBE. These roles are important in reaffirming SFI’s commitment to child’s right protection.”

DepEd Region X is the partner region for this year’s summit. “In Region X, we have always acknowledged the significance of the RBE approach wherein we ensure our schoolchildren have access to quality basic education and that this is delivered in a child-friendly learning environment. Being the regional partner in this year’s Summit has given us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment that the learner is at the heart of DepEd Region X. In an area where there is local armed conflict which threatens the access to education of our indigenous peoples learners, adapting to the new normal has been quite a challenge. Yet, we strive to do our best to continue the delivery of education not only as duty-bearers but as advocates of the learners’ rights as children,” Regional Director Arturo Bayocot said.

“Northern Mindanao has a rich and diverse culture. During the summit, we will proudly showcase the culture and the talents of our learners, and how they have managed to continuously and freely express themselves, even at this time of a pandemic. We are hopeful that through these presentations, we may be able to bring you closer to the heart of DepEd Region X: Our Learners”, Director Bayocot added.