The experience of the Center for Inclusive Education of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde >> VIDEO
Since its inception, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde has been in the forefront of inclusive education in the Philippines.
Starting as a college that caters to the needs of working students and the Filipino Deaf Community, Benilde, over the years, opened its arms to different marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those with learning conditions.
To formalize its efforts in supporting students with learning needs, the College established the Center for Inclusive Education in 2015. It started out as something voluntary, and it grew to become an office to assist students with special learning needs not just during the time that they were outside of class but also to assist them inside the classroom by providing accommodations that would allow them to participate and engage in their classes.
And also, there were inclusion advocacy activities like seminars and workshops for them to understand the different disabilities and what kind of values they needed to exhibit so that they would be able to support our students and make sure that they succeed in their college life.
So the way that we defined Benildean Inclusion is the continuous effort of the Benildean Community to break barriers. So, it’s not just an end goal or a result but it’s actually the journey and the process. It’s about providing reasonable accommodations to everyone in the community – students, associates, and other partners of the College so that we’re able to work towards Benilde’s full potential towards inclusion.
Since formalizing its inclusion-efforts, the College has assisted around 200 students with specific learning needs and helped countless other members of the community.
“Benilde has always been such a welcoming place to me. I’ve met so many amazing people there, so many great advisers and professors who have really helped my journey”.
“Being in Benilde and joining the Best Buddies organization under the Center for Inclusive Education really changed my life because they taught me that by the simple act of kindness, love, acceptance, and friendship that you extend towards everybody, we can slowly turn the world around and make it a better place”.
“The inclusion efforts of Benilde enable me to become an overall better person – not just a teacher for the sake of teaching. These invigorate in me greater responsibility and deepen my understanding of people”.
“I’m just really, really happy and fortunate to be part of a society or a community that gives such great importance to inclusivity”.
“After I graduate college, I plan on continuing to pursue my advocacy towards inclusion by using my knowledge as a multimedia arts student to create materials and collaterals to help people of the world understand how they can be more inclusive.”
There is also an evident increase of strength in the culture of inclusion in Benilde. This is seen in the growing number of students and employees who are becoming advocates for inclusion.
All these are summed up by the current reputation of the College as one of the best inclusive higher education institutions in the Philippines.
“One thing that I’m proud of with Benilde is that when we say we are inclusive, it means that we are inclusive from the time that you apply to us until the time that you get to graduate. And it is our hope that we are able to actually provide assistance even with placement for internships and also placement in employment”.
That’s one thing that we hope other Lasallian Schools will replicate as well as other private higher education institutions in the Philippines and even the state universities and colleges.
We’re still hoping that in the future, Benildean Inclusion will seep down to the very core of Benilde. That every person who is a Benildean: you will really be able to live out inclusion in every day.
With each passing day, the College becomes closer to its goal of creating a just and humane society. This is possible through the continued efforts of the College as well as the undying support of the Community. Without any doubt, inclusion is in the DNA of each Benildean. Indeed, we are Benildeans for All.