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Dep’t of Education issues gender-responsive basic education policy

The Department of Education (DepEd) issued a gender-responsive basic education policy (DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2017) that “commits to integrate the principles of gender equality, gender equity, gender sensitivity, non-discrimination and human rights in the provision and governance of basic education”.

The Department of Education (DepEd) issued a gender-responsive basic education policy (DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2017) that “commits to integrate the principles of gender equality, gender equity, gender sensitivity, non-discrimination and human rights in the provision and governance of basic education”.

Signed by Undersecretary Alberto T. Muyot, DepEd Undersecretary, the policy specifically “seeks to enable DepEd to undertake gender mainstreaming in education to address both enduring and emerging gender and sexuality-related issues in basic education, to promote the protection of children from all forms of gender-related violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination and bullying, and to promote gender equality and non-discrimination in the workplace and within DepEd”.

The policy also – finally – broadens DepEd’s gender and development (GAD) programs by tackling not only women’s issues, but also of other sexual minorities.

The policy specifically makes use of the more inclusive definitions of “gender identity” and “gender expression” to be respectful of people of different SOGIE.

Among the other (and more specific) highlights of the policy include:

  • Enforcement and compliance with RA 9710 on non-expulsion of women faculty and female learners who become pregnant outside of marriage;
  • Implementation of sexual and reproductive health services in every school;
  • Formulation of policies to boost women’s participation in sports;
  • Provision of facilities for differently-abled people;
  • Establishment of media network and mechanism to disseminate GAD-related information/advocacy campaigns;
  • Establishment of VAWC desk in schools; and
  • Provision of breastfeeding stations and child-minding stations.
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With the policy, the LGBT community is getting highlighted. For instance, DepEd now eyes to include in the school calendar the observance/celebration of LGBT Pride Month.

A Complaint/Grievance Committee is established to deal with violations of the policy. DepEd is similarly eyeing to institutionalize GAD Focal Point System to “strengthen gender and development institutional mechanisms”.

With the policy ordered to be immediately disseminated and strictly implemented, the onus is now on schools to implement the same.

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