The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday reiterated that upholding the rights of children should be prioritized at all times – especially during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of the annual celebration of the National Children’s Month (NCM) this November, the DepEd culminated its two-day Second National Summit on the Rights of the Child in Education.
Held virtually from Nov. 23 to 24, the Summit focused on 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).”
DepEd Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Josephine Maribojoc said that the summit is aimed 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.”
Maribojoc added that the Summit also wanted 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, attended by students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders, discussed the importance of upholding rights-based education “not only during normal times but also during public emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Supported by UNICEF Philippines, Save the Children Philippines, Stairway Foundation Inc., and DepEd Region 10, the Summit was conducted through an online platform attended by at least 1,000 virtual participants.
“The DepEd is tirelessly dedicated to upholding children’s rights in education despite the unprecedented times,” Maribojoc said. “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,” she added.
Maribojoc also emphasized that 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,” Maribojoc said. “After all, children continue to be children during the pandemic and they should continue to enjoy their rights,” she added.