School programmes in drug rehabilitation and social reintegration in the Philippines


Programme approach
Programme characteristics


Pages: 63 to 66
Creation Date: 1988/01/01

School programmes in drug rehabilitation and social reintegration in the Philippines

R.M. SAN PEDRO Deputy Executive Director
E.G. PONCE Chief, Research, Statistics and Training Officer, Dangerous Drugs Board, Manila, the Philippines


In recognition of the role of education in the process of the social reintegration of drug-dependentpersons, the Dangerous Drugs Board, the Philippines, highest policy-making andco-ordinating body on all matters pertaining to drug abuse control, theDepartment of Education, Culture and Sports, and other drug-rehabilitationcentres have jointly initiated and are implementing a formal school programmeat the secondary level, within the confines of rehabilitation centres.

Thus far, a built-in school programme has been established in the three rehabilitation centres existing in the country, from which 500individuals have graduated. A follow-up study is currently underway todetermine the effect that these programmes have had with respect to thesuccessful reintegration of those individuals into community life.


The role of education in the process of the social reintegration of drug-dependent persons, involving asuccessful transition from a drug-dependent to a drug-free state, is recognizedin the Philippines [1-3] .

The Dangerous Drugs Board, as the highest policy-making and coordinating body on all matters pertaining to drugabuse control, formulated the National Treatment and Rehabilitation Programme.The main objective of this Programme is to provide adequate education andrelated services for those who are drug-dependent.

This educational approach has been introduced by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, the Dangerous Drugs Board and theNational Bureau of Investigation (Treatment and Rehabilitation Center) in anattempt to provide formal secondary-level education within the confines ofresidential rehabilitation centres so that individuals can attend school whilepursuing drug-rehabilitation treatment.

Because the majority of drug-dependent persons were between the ages of 15 and 21 and had attendedschool prior to entering a rehabilitation centre, the need for a formalschooling programme in the rehabilitation centres became apparent.

The Built-in Schooling Programme was started as a pilot project at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, Tagaytay City, and later theProgramme was extended to two other residential rehabilitation centres in theManila metropolitan area.

Programme approach

Theformal secondary education programme is seen as a vehicle for developing andnormalizing the educational experiences of drug-dependent persons who areundergoing residential rehabilitation. The minimum period of confinement in theresidential rehabilitation centre is six months. During this period, anindividual who falls in the category of secondary student must be officiallyenrolled in school and should attend classes regularly as part of therehabilitation programme. The country’s school system should accept the former drug-dependent young people and facilitate their re-entry at any timeupon release.

Underlying the programme approach are several basic assumptions. These are:

  1. Drug-dependent persons undergoing rehabilitation in the centres will benefit from an organized learning experience;

  2. Curriculum development requires collaboration and partnership betweeneducators, managers, rehabilitation personnel, parents and students;

  3. A curricular programme should take into account the needs and interests of the individuals and of contemporary society, as well as theapproach of the rehabilitation effort;

  4. The attitudes of the personnel at the centres affect both programme development and the learningoutcome;

  5. The school programme in the centres should provide education that enables the participants to accept the responsibilities,as well as the risks involved, in the social reintegration process.

Programme characteristics

The programme has a four-year secondary curriculum for all students in all secondary schools in the country, asprescribed by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Courses areoffered as part of the non-formal school programme. Some of the subjectscovered are electronics, masonry, tailoring, leathercraft and woodcraft.

The programme provides individuals with opportunities for educational development. This is especially the case forstudents whose skills have been accredited and found equivalent to a givengrade level. Also, employment- oriented projects attempt to equip individualswith the knowledge and skills required for future employment.

Short-term seminars on personality development aim at facilitating reintegration. They focus on self-awareness, family life, responsibleparenthood, communication skills and building up healthy relationships.

A career guidance programme is intended to orient, motivate and prepare individuals for certain occupations for which they are qualified or inwhich they are interested. Sessions are conducted by staff of the SpecialEducation Unit of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports.

Physical fitness, sports and other recreational activities are provided through structured lessons on a regular basis.

Various competitions take place, representing a learning activity that seeks toharness and develop the potential of the students in mathematics, science andsocial studies. Painting and essay contests are held each year; winners areawarded medals, trophies and certificates.

The administration and supervision of education classes and the training ofteachers are handled by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Allteachers in the centres are required to complete a course on drug abuse, groupdynamics, behaviour management and learning. Educational committees oversee thevarious activities related to the school programme. The Dangerous Drugs Boardconducts regular monitoring activities and dialogues, and deals with problemsand difficulties encountered by teachers and staff in the implementation of theprogramme.

Recently, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, fully convinced of the importance of formal education in the totalrehabilitation programme, financed the construction of a school building insidethe compound of one centre. This will be followed up with the construction of abuilding for vocational activities.


Thus far, 500 individuals have graduated from the school programmes in the Philippines. A follow-up study ofthe graduates is envisaged in order to determine the impact of the programmeson the rehabilitation and social reintegration processes.

The success of any such programme depends on the extent to which individuals,physical, emotional, mental, social and vocational needs can be met in anenvironment that is conducive to making a transition from a drug-dependent to adrug-free state. The Built-in School Programme of the Philippines might proveto be a positive contribution in this regard.



G. Estela Ponce, The Role of Education in the Social Reintegration of Drug Users and Former Drug Users in the Philippines (Paris,United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1979).


G. Estela Ponce, Evaluation Report: A Toot for the Social Reintegration of Former Drug Users in the Philippines (Paris,United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1984).


Special Report - Workshop on New Dimensions in the Education of Drug Dependents (Manila, 1983).