What began as an idea for promoting the inclusive education of children with special needs is now an ongoing and concrete advocacy. Armed with grants from an external funding agency, the University of Santo Tomas is implementing an Inclusive Education program, a product of close collaboration among the College of Education (lead unit), College of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Science, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and the Research Center for Culture, Education and Social Issues.
The project aims to benefit public schools in the country, bearing in mind the increasing awareness that children with special needs should likewise undergo formal education.
The researchers, led by Asst. Prof. Maripia P. Rabacal of the College of Education, are now in the Profiling stage, and they are visiting eight areas in the country (2 from the National Capital Region, 2 regions from Luzon, 2 regions from Visayas, and 2 regions from Mindanao), to determine the needs of the children. Such data will aid in the development of modules, for the data will show the most common learning disabilities.
Development of Manuals
Aiming to make the project responsive to the various needs of the beneficiaries, manuals designed to develop different skills are being produced. This phase deals with the “Development of Pre-referral Intervention Manual in:
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Cognitive Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Social Emotional Skills
  • Self-Help Skills”
These manuals are anchored on the idea of remaining relevant to the context of the learner, thereby increasing the materials’ applicability and efficiency of use. The manuals will likewise be based on best practices inclusive education.
Teacher Training
Once the two previous stages are done, the researchers will go around the country and conduct training to public school teachers, equipping them with the ways to profile and modules to use when teaching the children with special needs.
Deployment and Monitoring
Finally, the screening tools, modules and the trained teachers will be deployed in the field to promote inclusive education for these children with special needs. As this is being done, the researchers will conduct periodic monitoring activities to aid the implementers.
The Prime Movers
This project, funded by an external agent, is being implemented by several sectors in the University: the College of Education, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Science, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and the Research Center for Cultural, Educational and Social Issues.
The team is composed of the following:
       Project Leader         Asst. Prof. Maripia P. Rabacal
       Members                  Asst. Prof. Marichou Beltran
                                                Asst. Prof. Bernard Saldivar
                                                Ms. Eleanor Bahrami-Tranquilino
                                                Assoc. Prof. Marie Antonette Vargas, PhD
                                                Assoc. Prof. Donald Lipardo
                                                Asst. Prof. Karen Ongtangco
                                                Assoc. Prof. Georgina Mojica, PhD
                                                Mr. Hubert Ramos, MClAud