Statement reiterating DepEd’s commitment to keep all schools safe with quality education

November 7, 2017

The Department of Education (DepEd) maintains and honors its commitment to leave no learner behind and to provide quality, relevant, accessible, and liberating education in an environment where learners and personnel alike are safe and nurtured. The Department has and will never condone activities that imperil the security of its learners, teachers and personnel, and enjoins all education stakeholders to commit in enforcing the same.
 
Since her appointment, DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones has been campaigning – nationally and internationally – that all schools in the Philippines must be respected as zones of peace. In March 2017, Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua conveyed the Secretary’s strong advocacy of upholding and signing the United Nations’ Safe Schools Declaration during the 2nd International Conference on Safe Schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In June 2017, the Education chief herself told the UN in New York that she staunchly supports the Safe Schools Declaration in view of the long-standing DepEd policy on schools being zones of peace.
 
Talks with different agencies on the adoption of the Declaration resulted in DepEd securing the agreement and commitment of the Department of National Defense (DND), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) to sign the Declaration in support the education agency’s advocacy to protect schools and children from armed conflict.
 
The Department is always in close consultation with community leaders of various indigenous groups, recognizing the richness of their culture and particular aspirations in the delivery of basic education. No less than the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, Atty. Alberto Muyot, is in Mindanao for a series of dialogues in regard to securing permits of schools with IP learners.
 
DepEd Order No. 62, s. 2011, or Adopting the National IP Education Policy Framework, was prepared in consultation with representatives from IP communities, civil society, and other government agencies. This is intended to be an instrument for promoting shared accountability, continuous dialogue, engagement, and partnerships among government, IP communities, civil society, and other education stakeholders.
 
The implementation of the IP Education Program is further strengthened through DO 32, s. 2015 (Adopting the Indigenous Peoples Education Curriculum Framework), that seeks to provide guidance to schools and other education programs, both public and private, as they engage with indigenous communities in localizing, indigenizing, and enhancing the K to 12 Curriculum based on their respective educational and social contexts. The enhancement of the K to 12 curriculum is being done in partnership with local IP communities to assure that indigenous knowledge and cultural practices are accurately and properly reflected in the national curriculum.
 
To maintain an inclusive, equitable and culture-based basic education system responsive to IP learners, DepEd issued DO 50, s 2016 or Hiring Guidelines for Teacher I Positions in Schools Implementing IPEd Effective SY 2016-2017.
 
These polices together support school-level implementation of the IPEd Program in schools with IP learners. Recognizing that there are areas in the country with IP learners but with no education services, DepEd has reached 307 IP communities through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) and formal services as appropriate, as of June 2017. Two hundred fifty-one (251) of these areas, particularly in Mindanao, have newly established schools in response to the request of the communities.   
 
Inclusive education is and will always be the core mandate and advocacy of the Department. Its efforts encompass learners from all marginalized and vulnerable sectors, whose biggest chance at a better life is to have quality basic education in a safe and nurturing environment. To purport that efforts of the main agency tasked to deliver this efficiently and effectively may be wanting, especially to indigenous learners, is a clear manifestation that contribution and cooperation of stakeholders with DepEd are all the more needed.
 
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