Friday, January 12, 2018

DepEd Advances Indigenous Peoples Education Through Committed, Sustained Dialogue with IP Communities

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones reaffirmed the Department of Education’s (DepEd) commitment to further strengthen the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Program through continuous consultations with IP elders, leaders, and community representatives during the 2017 National Indigenous Peoples Education Gathering on January 10 in Davao City.

The Gathering commemorated 10 years of meaningful dialogue between DepEd and IP communities all over the country that led to the birth of various policy issuances that provide appropriate directions for IPEd Program implementing regions and divisions, so that initiatives are responsive to the aspirations and educational needs of IP learners.

A prayer-blessing also opened the second decade of dialogue, with community elders and leaders expressing their hopes for a deepening relationship between IP communities and DepEd, and praying for the guidance and well-being of all those involved in implementing the IPEd Program.

In her keynote message, Briones highlighted specific education concerns that have direct bearing on IP learners and communities and the implementation of an education that is geared toward a more quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all.

She underscored the importance of environmental protection in the curriculum as one way to contribute in keeping IP learners and communities safe, as their identity, culture, and livelihood are shaped by the natural environment surrounding their communities.

“So kailangan talaga, tayo na umaasa sa natural environment, dapat tayo ang mangunguna sa pag-protect nito… I-protect ang ating livelihood dahil ang katutubo, hindi lang nagpuputol ng kahoy, hindi ba? Pinapalitan iyan dahil alam naman natin na iyon ang nagshe-shelter sa atin, ” Briones said.

She called on DepEd to be a champion of the environment as this is a concern of all, not only of IP communities.

The Education chief also mentioned the significance of utilizing technology in ensuring that the cultures of various IP communities in the country are nurtured and protected: “Kailangan gamitin natin ang technology para ipalaganap ang ating kultura, pamamaraan, at pamumuhay.”

Briones committed that as DepEd continues its efforts to enhance the curriculum, concerns of IP learners and communities will be included. “Marami pang pagbabago ang gagawin natin sa curriculum, pero ang importante, hindi natin iiwan ang mga katutubo.”

Furthermore, she conveyed her message not just for IP learners but to all Filipino learners, "You have to be brave, you should be courageous, you should not be afraid even as you know that the world is changing and by the time that you graduate, it will change even more.”

Also present at the event were Undersecretaries Alberto Muyot, Jesus Mateo, Lorna Dino, Alain Del Pascua, Annalyn Sevilla, and Victoria Catibog; Assistant Secretaries Revsee Escobedo and Josephine Maribojoc; and former Education Secretaries Jesli Lapus and Mona Valisno.

Notable milestones

As of 2016, the IPEd Program has reached 16 regions, 31 cities, and 80 provinces; established mechanisms for engagement and partnership with 170 Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in 290 communities nationwide; developed more than 500 contextualized lesson plans in collaboration with 60 ICCs located in over 200 communities nationwide; and conducted basic training on IPEd and the use of contextualized lesson plans to 2,718 schools serving IP learners.

The IPEd Program is also working on the development of the basic requirements —orthography, dictionary, grammar book, and reading materials—to implement the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) with 65 ICCs.

In support of the program, DepEd continuously crafts policies based on community feedback through consultations and relevant studies that will address the education concerns of IP communities. Concerns addressed by policies formulated in the five years of IPEd Program implementation include the recognition of non-profit private schools serving IP learners, cultural sensitivity in dealing with aspects of IP culture, curriculum contextualization, and hiring of teachers for schools implementing IPEd, among others.

With the opening of the second decade of dialogue, future directions include institutionalizing the mechanisms of dialogue towards effective curriculum contextualization and program implementation, strengthening and expanding school level implementation of the IPEd Program, and systematizing the delivery of DepEd services—both formal and ALS—in far-flung IP communities, among others.

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