Left-handed studes to get neutral desks | Inquirer News
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Left-handed studes to get neutral desks

MANILA, Philippines — Left-handed students no longer have to contort themselves when writing using right-handed school desks, and endure back, neck and shoulder pains in the process.

Thanks to  Republic Act No. 11394, or the Mandatory Provision of Neutral Desks in Educational Institutions Act, which President Duterte signed on Aug. 22, all public and private schools will now be required to have neutral desks or tables that are suitable for both left- and right-handed students.

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The law requires all educational institutions to provide neutral desks for 10 percent of their student population within one year from the effectivity of the law,  and for all students from there on.

“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,” the measure’s main proponent, Sen. Sonny Angara, said in a statement.

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Studies have shown that left-handed students tend to write more slowly when using right-handed desks, which puts them at a disadvantage during timed examinations, Angara added.

The Department of Education (DepEd), meanwhile, said it needed roughly P81 billion to replace all the existing school desks in public schools by 2025.

Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said in a statement on Wednesday that the new law fits snugly with DepEd’s five-year replacement plan, which saw the procurement and delivery of about 1.4 million new tables and chairs to 30,412 classrooms last year.

Under a DepEd proposal, the existing 18 million armchairs in classrooms across the country could be replaced by neutral desks in five years, at a cost of about P16.2 million per year.

“If we start in 2020, we can have all armchairs replaced by 2025,” Pascua said.

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