Last August 6, 2020, Virlanie Foundation holds its Inclusive Education Dialogues 2020, known as IncluED 2020 via a webinar session with a theme:  Giving Value to Inclusive Education during Crisis and Beyond. The Foundation has  invited Director Leila Areola, PhD., Director IV of Bureau of Learning Delivery from Department of Education; Mr. RJ Ledesma, an entrepreneur, and owner of Mercato Centrale; and Mr. John Erwin Magno, President and CEO of Line Learning and Development Solutions.

The webinar was opened by Mr. Thomas Mouliac, the Executive Director of Virlanie Foundation, Inc. In the introduction, he expressed his thoughts on how inclusive education can still be assured during the pandemic. “We are weary how it will look in the long term for children… We see the incoming situation, might increase the inequalities between the rich and the poor and penalize the poor and destitute families who do not necessarily have the access to deal with online learning,” he said. He also introduced the objectives to be understood for the webinar:

  • With the pandemic crisis, what is the stand of our guests and their respective institution on Inclusive Education in the Philippines?
  • What are the current project and plans of your institution to promote inclusive education?
  • What is their view on addressing the challenges on having an Inclusive Education in the Philippines?
  • How can the private sector and the government; and the NGOs like Virlanie, can work hand in hand to ensure continuous improvement of digitization to all Filipino learners?
  • What is their message to the public and how can individual help in promoting inclusive education?

The first round of discussion was headed by Dir. Leila Areola, of Department of Education (DEPED). She briefly discussed various option on how a learner cannot miss their classes this year. According to Director Leila, some of the learning modules are also made available in TV or radio; modular lessons are disseminated to those who do not have internet access. According to her, “Indeed, COVID-19 is a transformative opportunity that pushes us to challenge the status quo and it offers us opportunities to even get all better and offer better services for all our learners. Admittedly, COVID-19 is a life-changing event, but we will never let it kill the dreams of our learners,” she said.

The second part of the discussion was led by Mr. RJ Ledesma, who briefly discussed the importance of having an inclusive social entrepreneurship education to be imparted to young minds or even at any ages as this can develop problem solving skills, and develop resiliency among children. “Through inclusive social entrepreneurship education, we can teach children to develop an entrepreneurial mindset… This is not just for them to develop business, but fot them to learn how to solve problems, how to create resilience and abundance for themselves,” he said.

He also shared the idea of doing a business with a socially responsible reason, which can also make private sectors interested to patronize organizations like Virlanie.

The last part of the webinar event is dedicated to a presentation on how to make technology touch a life of a learner or even his/her teacher. This was discussed by Mr. John Erwin Magno, President and CEO of Line Learning and Development Solutions. During his lecture, he focused mainly on various technological features that can help learners who have learning limitations because of their disability. He made short demos of these helpful tools through Office 365 where teachers and students can still have a good learning session together.

“Our goal here is to really make sure that each and everyon will be part of the “family” (to be part of the educational system). The only thing we need to do is to really help each other,” he said.

Ms. Arlyne Fernandez, Virlanie’s Deputy Executive Director, delivered her closing remarks, telling the audiences and most especially to Virlanie supporters that, “the mission of taking care of the children, the most vulnerable one should be everybody’s role. Virlanie was able to touch the lives of these children all these years because of your love and support.”

IncluED 2020 is a yearly assembly of child and education advocates to express the importance of having an inclusive education by means of healthy and meaningful dialogues. IncluED 2020 is also part of the Give 2 Achieve campaign that promotes inclusive education to all children. The event was also made possible by the following Virlanie partners to inclusive education, The Orphaned Starfish Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Philippines, Inc., Metro Pacific Investment Foundation, 3M Philippines and GrabPay.