Sunday, May 22, 2016

Indigenous Peoples Education (Day 11)

Indigenous Peoples Education (Day 11)

by Rey Laguda

(This is the 11th day of 50-day journey of DepEd Undersecretary Rey Laguda as being serialized here with his permission, culled from his Facebook account - Blogger/owner)

In the early 1990s, I have had the privilege of living for about 10 days with a community of Dumagat people in Nueva Ecija. I discovered a world so unknown to me and yet was part and parcel of being Filipino. My eyes were opened and my heart was exposed to a glimpse of the poverty and discrimination that they experience as a marginalized group. Since then, I have kept on coming back and also began to expose myself to other Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities all over the Philippines. Prior to joining DepEd, I was heavily involved in helping our Dumagat friends chart their future and an education intervention for their kids. I knew that there were needs left unaddressed and a cultural disconnect needed to be corrected.

Br. Armin Luistro, FSC points out that we “have been miseducated by a system that perpetuates cultural oppression… which we need to change to undertake reforms.” This is the context of push for the National Indigenous Peoples Education Program (IPEd). This response took its roots when the Department adopted the landmark policy framework aimed at making education more culturally-based and more accessible to IP learners, serving a key basis for operationalizing the IPEd-related provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Efforts continue to be undertaken to develop culturally-appropriate learning resources and a conscious promotion of indigenous knowledge systems and practices in materials. Recognition is also being given to communities and civil society organizations that run legitimate schools serving indigenous learners located mostly in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. The deployment of teachers for these areas now take into account specific knowledge and skills required for specific community contexts. To date, teachers, school heads and other personnel serving in more than 2,500 schools serving indigenous learners all over the country have been trained. Community elders and other knowledge experts are tapped as resource persons for such activities.

As a government agency, DepEd is taking the initial steps to reach out. We are not yet done. We have a lot to learn from our indigenous communities. They form part of our nation. Maybe, we also need to unlearn certain notions and world views as well. What is definite is that we have to engage with them as people and co-equals. Without meaningful engagement and collaboration, we will never begin to understand their value to us and in the formation of our identity. As a nation of diverse cultures, respect is paramount and a pre-requisite to understanding and wisdom.

Check out the following policies for a glimpse of what DepEd has been pushing for:

1. DepEd Order No. 62, s. 2011 – Adopting the National Indigenous Peoples Education Policy Framework
2. DepEd Order No. 103, s. 2011 – Creation of Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO)
3. DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2012 – Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10157 Otherwise Known as “The Kindergarten Education Act”
4. DepEd Order No. 21, s. 2014 – Guidelines on the Recognition of Private Learning Institutions Serving Indigenous Peoples Learners
5. DepEd Order No. 51, s. 2014 – Guidelines on the Conduct of Activities and Use of Materials Involving Aspects of Indigenous Peoples Culture
6. DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2015 – Adopting the Indigenous Peoples Education Curriculum Framework
7. DepEd Order No. 7, s. 2015 – Hiring Guidelines for Teacher I Positions for School Year 2015-2016)



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