PASAY CITY, May 20, 2023 – Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines and Secretary of Education Sara Z. Duterte enumerated various plans for achieving inclusion and respect for language diversity in basic education programs during her speech at the Language and Inclusion Summit on Friday.

“We reaffirm our MATATAG commitments dedicated to language and inclusion to improve English proficiency while recognizing linguistic diversity. We will work towards the goal of English language proficiency within the context of a multilingual nation,” VP-Sec. Duterte said.

“We will review the implementation of the Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education policy guided by the principle that, among others, learners learn when taught in a language they understand,” she added.

VP-Sec. Duterte also mentioned that DepEd would continue establishing inclusive learning resource centers to provide assisted mechanisms such as audio-assisted technology like braille and large-print test materials for disabled students.

Moreover, the Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary committed to introducing digital textbooks for certain core subjects in Senior High Schools and coordinating with Regional Offices and partners to facilitate the development of learning resources for learners with Special Needs, specifically the visually and hearing impaired.

She also appealed for the continuous support of partners and stakeholders in supporting teachers and learners in fostering a positive and non-threatening learning environment.

“We will continue to live in our faith that education is a great enabler rather than a great divider. Any noble undertaking, however, cannot succeed if performed singlehandedly. Therefore, I appeal to the collective efforts of stakeholders to have our sights set on an active call for inclusion,” she noted.

During the summit, DepEd also gathered commitments from policymakers and stakeholders to support its implementation of language and inclusion programs. Senator Loren Legarda discussed fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society, while Senator Sherwin Gatchalian rallied to support alternative and inclusive learning.

The Language and Inclusion Summit also showcased an exhibit featuring various teaching and learning materials developed and used in schools to support the delivery of language and inclusion programs.

Spearheaded by the agency’s Curriculum and Teaching strand, the summit is a two-day event designed to present empirical data on the importance of language and inclusion and to showcase initiatives on the implementation of DepEd programs, such as the Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd), Madrasah Education Program (MEP), Special Needs Education (SNEd) and Alternative Learning System (ALS).