DepEd to establish new schools for indigenous peoples in Mindanao

Pursuing its commitment to provide culture-based education and help ensure lasting peace in Mindanao, the Department of Education (DepEd) will establish 5 new schools for Higaonon communities in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental.

The new schools will be established in Barangays Kalipay, Hindangon, Bantaawan, and Bal-ason, and will be ready to accept its first batch of learners this coming school year (SY) 2016-2017.

Meanwhile in other parts of Mindanao, DepEd will establish 246 more schools for the indigenous communities in Regions IX, X, XI, XII, and XIII. The Agency will establish a total of 251 schools in time for SY 2016-2017.

Among the said schools, there will be a total of 605 classrooms that will be constructed in partnership with the Kalahi-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. In addition, DepEd will hire 583 teachers who will be deployed to the new schools, which are expected to initially serve some 19, 622 learners coming from 22 indigenous cultural communities.

Last year, DepEd adopted the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Curriculum Framework (DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2015), which was formulated in consultation with community elders, leaders, and implementers of community-based IPEd initiatives. The framework provides guidance in contextualizing the K to 12 Curriculum based on the indigenous community’s respective educational and social background.

As a major milestone in the implementation of DepEd’s IPEd Program, the IPEd Curriculum Framework will benefit more than 1.19-million IP learners enrolled in public schools, as well as learners enrolled in community and civil society organization-run schools.

To celebrate such gains of IPEd, DepEd and representatives of indigenous communities nationwide have come together last year in a symbolic affirmation of commitment to DepEd’s IPEd Program.

Through the inauguration of a pakedlan—an indigenous space for coming together of the Kankanaey peoples of Benguet—and a ritual performed at the Baguio Teachers Camp with the participation of representatives of indigenous communities from different parts of the country, the gathering likewise strengthened the partnership towards the full recognition of indigenous knowledge and learning systems within the national education system.

“Mahalaga na naka-angkla ang ating kurikulum sa ating kulturang Pilipino … Kapag wala ang katutubong kaalaman na nakapasok sa ating kurikulum, mawawalan tayo ng kaluluwa,” Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said during the gathering which was held on November 12, 2015.

Among other initiatives, DepEd has also forged a partnership with Lubos na Alyansa ng mga Katutubong Ayta ng Sambales (LAKAS) for the implementation of an IPEd Program at Lakas High School, which is the first formal culture-based public secondary school specifically serving the Ayta community in Bihawo, Botolan, Zambales.

Esel Cabalic, a grade 8 student of the Lakas HS said, “Kami ay nagpapasalamat sa Kagawaran ng Edukasyon sa pagkilala ng aming karapatan na magkaroon ng Katutubong Edukasyon o IPEd. Isang Katutubong Edukasyon kung saan ito ay aangkop at gagabay sa pagkatuto naming mga katutubo.”

The establishment of new schools in Gingoog is part of the government’s commitment to the sustainable development and aspirations of indigenous communities by working with them in the delivery of culture-based basic education services for the learners in the area.

“Serbisyo Caravan”

Bringing the government closer to the people, the Serbisyo Caravan is a multi-agency effort that carries out government services and dialogues in communities where indigenous peoples and conflict-affected residents live.

The 5th Serbisyo Caravan has been conducted in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental from February 3 to 4, 2016

Among others, the Caravan has provided medical services, distributed food packs, educational supplies, micronutrient compact food, hygiene kits, and information materials.

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