Duterte signs law requiring schools to provide neutral desk for students
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law requiring schools to provide neutral desks to all students to address the needs of left-handed students.
Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11394 or the Mandatory Provision of Neutral Desks in Educational Institutions Act on August 22, a copy of the law was released to the media on Wednesday.
The new law mandated that “it shall be obligatory for all educational institutions, both public and private, that make use of armchairs in the classroom to provide neutral desks to all students.”
Under the law, neutral desk means “ a table or an armchair that is suitable for both right-handed and left-handed students.”
Schools, the law said, “shall provide neutral desks equivalent to ten percent (10 %) of the student population within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act.”
In a statement, Sen. Sonny Angara lauded the signing of the new law, which he authored.
Angara said that every day, left-handed students “are faced with an additional challenge in school of having to deal with armchairs that do not support their ‘uniqueness.’”
He said that 10 percent of population are left-handed but most facilities in schools are designed for right-handed students.
“Sa pamamagitan ng batas na ito, ang mga paaralan ay maoobliga na maglaan ng mga ‘neutral desks’ sa bawat classroom,” he said.
“These neutral desks,” he said, “could be used by both left and right-handed students without any issue.”
“The struggle of left-handed students is real. Many of them end up suffering from back, neck and shoulder pain when they force themselves to use the standard-issue desks. Studies have also shown that left-handed students tend to write slower when using right-handed desks, thus, leaving them at a disadvantage during timed examinations,” he added.
The signing of the new law, Angara said, “is now one less problem on the plate of left-handed students. We thank the President for signing this bill that we authored into law.” /jpv
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