PASIG CITY, February 19, 2017 – In pursuit of culture-based education for Indigenous Peoples (IP) learners, the Department of Education (DepEd), through its Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO), Mindanao Regional Offices, and the DepEd-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), started the first of three weeks of training for teachers and school heads from public schools serving IP communities in ARMM.
Hosted by DepEd Region XII at General Santos City, the Basic Training on Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) will run from February 13 to March 3, 2017 and will be participated in by some 500 teachers and school heads from an initial 177 schools in ARMM. The first two weeks will gather DepEd personnel from schools serving Teduray and Lambangian indigenous communities.
With the support of Regional Education Secretary John A. Magno of ARMM and DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, this training activity is also meant to launch closer collaboration between DepEd-ARMM and DepEd-IPsEO in the institutionalization of the IPEd Program in the autonomous region. The IPEd Program is being implemented nationwide to support the curriculum contextualization thrusts of the Enhanced Basic Education, mandated by Republic Act No. 10533 or more popularly known as the “K to 12 Law”. It seeks to enable DepEd schools and other education programs to engage with IP communities in pursuing basic education that is responsive to the community’s context, respects their identities, and promotes their indigenous knowledge, competencies, and other aspects of their cultural heritage.
“We hope that this training will open the space for dialogue about the cultural diversity of the people of the Philippines, and start the continuous process of deepening our understanding of the aspirations of the indigenous peoples in ARMM. If we are truly learner-centered and seek to make education inclusive and relevant, then we have to develop the knowledge and competencies needed to effectively work with IP communities in contextualizing the curriculum,” said IPsEO head Rozanno Rufino in a message during the opening program.
“Ultimately, through IPEd, we concretely contribute in nurturing learners who ‘contribute meaningfully to building the nation’, as we say in the DepEd vision-mission. What does it mean to be a Philippine nation comprised of culturally diverse peoples? Becoming a nation does not happen overnight – it means facing the difficult questions about our cultural identity and our history. Recognizing indigenous peoples and their cultures in our education system, including their struggle for self-determination and cultural integrity, has been long overdue. As one DepEd family, we are happy to join the educators of DepEd-ARMM as they embark on this lifelong IPEd journey,” Rufino added.
The inter-regional training team is composed of selected DepEd staff from regions IX, X, XI, XII and CARAGA, which have started to roll out their own IPEd training for teachers and school heads since 2015. Fifteen (15) DepEd Regional Offices and more than a hundred Schools Division Offices nationwide have been developing indigenized lesson plans, beginning with the early grades, that duly recognize indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSPs) and indigenous learning systems.
Timuay Santos Unsad, a Teduray elder from Upi, Maguindanao, expressed his hopes about the institutionalization of IPEd in ARMM, beginning with this training. He said, “Sana ay maisapuso at maisabuhay ng mga teachers natin ang natutunan nila sa training na ‘to pagbalik nila sa kani-kanilang paaralan. Mahalaga ang IPEd para hindi tuluyang mawala ang kultura namin at maipasa pa ito sa mga susunod na henerasyon.”