Monday, May 20, 2024

Revamped School Boosts Deaf Community’s Potential

Revamped School Boosts Deaf Community’s Potential

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A dedicated teacher from PSD provides a hands-on lecture inside their newly rehabilitated school building.

 

Dealing with hearing loss presents its own set of obstacles, especially in a world where verbal communication is the norm. In the Philippines, these obstacles are particularly challenging, leading to limited opportunities for the deaf, especially when it comes to education and job prospects.

Secondary schools specifically designed for the hearing-impaired are few and far between in the Philippines. And even when they do exist, issues like high costs and inadequate facilities make it difficult for deaf individuals to pursue their education effectively.



A personal advocacy

Shery Funcion, the Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, is no stranger to these challenges.    

Her dedication to the cause began with her college thesis, focusing on job opportunities for deaf learners. Since then, she has immersed herself in various organizations and volunteer activities, gaining firsthand insights into the limited opportunities available to deaf learners.    

She eventually became a SPED teacher, before taking on the role of principal in PSD.    

“The immersive experience really showed me how important these projects are for our students—kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng mga pasilidad sa mga mag aaral lalo na sa mga bingi,” she underscored the importance of providing facilities for students with hearing impairment.   

A facility that produces opportunities 

The collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City equips students with in-demand skills that will prepare them for employment upon graduation.

In the century-old PSD, their senior high school laboratory building serves as the training ground for students. Its classrooms and halls, no matter how old, have always played their role in honing and preparing deaf students to have solid career prospects after PSD.

Amidst the competing priorities within the school and the broader Philippine educational system, the facility barely had enough funds for the rehabilitation and major repairs it needed. For years, students and teachers worked around issues ranging from dim lighting and leaking roofs to uneven floors. These not only presented structural concerns but also hindered the overall learning experience of students.

“Our deaf learners need special accommodation to fulfill their special educational needs. They need to have a conducive learning environment so we can optimize the activities and learning programs,” Funcion stressed.

Funcion further shared that the 2023 collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI)—the social good arm of the SM Group, and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City could not have come at a better time.

“The rehabilitation of the Home Economics (HE) laboratories is crucial because students need to fulfill their performance tasks. These are vital components of our senior high school program to ensure that they acquire essential skills and competencies for employment post-graduation from PSD.”

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food and beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

For Funcion, their Henry Sy. Sr. building serves as a great beginning that will help pave equal opportunities and create a future where deaf students’ abilities will shine within and beyond the four walls of classrooms.

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.