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A closer look: Sara Duterte’s learner-related accomplishments as DepEd secretary

Exactly 10 days before her resignation as the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) took effect, Vice President Sara Duterte on Tuesday, July 9, highlighted some of the agency’s achievements for Filipino learners during her two-year term.

Sara DepEd MB Visual Content Group.jpg
Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte / MB Visual Content Group

Duterte, whose resignation takes effect on July 19, shared DepEd’s key accomplishments for the benefit of Filipino learners over the past two years in her message during the Learners’ Convergence Philippines 2024 held at the Lapu-Lapu Hoops Dome in Cebu City.

“We are here today to celebrate the most important part of our education system: our dear learners,” Duterte said.

2024 marked the second year of Learners’ Convergence Philippines. Last year, it was held in Marikina City.

READ:

https://mb.com.ph/2023/7/16/dep-ed-to-hold-learners-convergence-ph-2023-from-july-29-to-aug-3

Duterte noted that during the first Learners’ Convergence, participants voiced their hopes, dreams, and recommendations in the MATATAG Agenda.

“Today, I am excited to share how we, the entire DepEd family, have responded to your inputs,” she added.

Curriculum, teachers, and students’ well-being

First off, Duterte said DepEd launched the MATATAG curriculum and implemented Catch-up Fridays to help close learning gaps arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and to improve the overall quality of education in the country.

“By removing administrative tasks, we have allowed teachers to focus on their main and only task: to teach,” Duterte said, referring to her directive issued last January relieving teachers of administrative tasks.

READ:

https://mb.com.ph/2024/1/30/dep-ed-relieves-teachers-of-administrative-tasks-why-is-this-important-1

“We are also returning to the original school calendar to ensure your safety during the hot summer months,” Duterte explained, highlighting adjustments in the calendar in the previous school year and changes in the coming years.

READ:

https://mb.com.ph/2024/5/6/dep-ed-to-comply-with-marcos-decision-on-reverting-to-old-school-calendar

Health and nutrition

Duterte also noted that during her term, DepEd established the first Mental Health & Wellness Unit.

Through the creation of this unit, Duterte said over 10,000 personnel were trained in psychological first aid and established DepEd’s first mental health support network.

“These efforts have helped save over 900 lives through suicide prevention and counseling,” Duterte said. “With a substantial budget of P200 million for mental health, we are integrating mental health services in schools and setting up specialized teams in every region,” she added.

Duterte said DepEd also leveraged the power of technology by co-creating the Lusog Isip Kabataan Education (LIKE).

“This is an online platform where all vital videos, referral hotlines, and learning materials for your mental well-being can now be accessed—anytime, anywhere,” she explained.

In an effort to combat substance abuse and substance dependence, Duterte said DepEd also established over 2,700 chapters of Barkada Kontra Droga, which is “soon to evolve” into Barkada Kontra Bisyo and is expected to engage over 450,000 learner participants.

READ:

https://mb.com.ph/2024/6/14/dep-ed-to-expand-program-to-combat-harmful-vices-among-learners

“We continue to stand firm in protecting you from the dangers of smoking, vaping, alcohol dependence, and illicit drugs,” Duterte said, noting that learners who share the same advocacy and have no Barkada yet in their areas are free to establish a chapter within their schools.

Duterte said DepEd also invested heavily in Child and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health. DepEd, she noted, secured P100 million for Teen Centers, which will become Learner Wellness Centers, and expanding programs for teen pregnancy and HIV prevention.

Moreover, Duterte said that through initiatives of Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs) and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), DepEd has “worked to reduce teenage pregnancy dropouts by 86 percent.”

Furthermore, Duterte said that the iChoose online platform now offers crucial resources for CSE and SOGIE.

Duterte said that in nutrition, DepEd has improved its School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP). The provision of meals for over two million learners for an entire academic year, she stressed, is a “landmark expansion and another victory for our learners.”

DepEd, she added, will also roll out universal feeding for Kindergarten learners in select public schools.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that initiatives like “Gulayan sa Paaralan” and Farm Schools, which ensure access to fresh and nutritious food, continue to enhance the learning potential of students.

DepEd’s WASH in Schools or WINS Program, she added, now ensures that 98.6 percent of schools have safe drinking water.

Duterte stepped down from her post as DepEd Secretary on June 19. She did not cite specific reasons for her decision.

On July 2, President Marcos formally appointed Senator Sonny Angara as the new DepEd Secretary. His term will be effective on July 19.

READ:

https://mb.com.ph/2024/7/2/what-teachers-expect-from-new-dep-ed-secretary-sonny-angara

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