- Filipino students will have no difficulty catching up in school as neutral desks will be set up to help them write comfortably.
- President Rodrigo Duterte signed into a law the Mandatory Provisions on Neutral Desks in Educational Institutions Act this month.
- All public and private schools are obliged to put up neutral desks to benefit both left-handed and right-handed students.
Left-handed students from the Philippines who have always had difficulty writing on mismatched desks will soon benefit from a new law requiring neutral desks in schools.
Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte signed earlier this week the Republic Act 11394 or the Mandatory Provisions of Neutral Desks in Educational Institutions Act on August 22, a copy of the law was released to the local 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 refers to “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 of the student population within one year from the effectivity of this Act.”
The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will be in charge of including administrative penalties for schools that do not comply in the law.
Sen. Sonny Angara lauded the signing of the new law, which he authored.
The senator noted that said that 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.
By putting up neutral desks, both left and right-handed students can use them without any issue, Angara noted.
“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,” Angara added.