Education department to offer special curriculum for indigenous peoples

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

TO ENSURE the delivery of quality education to indigenous peoples (IP), the Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered the creation of an office that would formulate policies pertaining to indigenous communities.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPSEO) is important to ensure the continued delivery of quality education to IP learners, which is one of the most neglected and vulnerable communities in the country.

"To operationalize the National Indigenous Peoples Education Policy Framework, the DepEd felt the need to establish a mechanism for the mobilization, implementation and coordination of all programs and projects of this Department related to IP education," Luistro said, adding that the creation of the IPSEO is important for the continued delivery of quality education to IP learners.


The said office, which will be under the direction of DepEd Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Yolanda Quijano will also recommend policy standards and actions to enhance the implementation of education initiatives for IP learners as well as serve as the focal point for coordinating works with other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, indigenous peoples organizations, academic institutions and the private sector in furthering IP education in the country.

According to the department, the IPsEO would complement the planned National Center for Indigenous Peoples in Bagabag town, Nueva Vizcaya where various groups working and helping the IPs can come together, discuss and formulate ideas and actions for the betterment of the community.

But Luistro said even before the creation of the IPSEO, the department has been implementing several programs designed to help IPs’ get the education they need.

He said that last year the department, with the assistance of the Australian government has launched an initiative dubbed the Philippine Response to Indigenous Peoples and Muslim Education that addresses the learning needs of schoolchildren belonging to indigenous communities or tribes.

Supported by AU$20 million in funding from the Australian Assistance for International Development, the DepEd is developing learning materials, training teachers and adopting the curriculum to make teaching and learning culturally-sensitive and relevant to IPs and Muslim school children.

The funding support from Australia is for an initial three-year period-2011 to 2014.

The DepEd said majority of the IP communities are located in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, Caraga and Davao region.

Also last year, the department issued its policy framework on the education of indigenous peoples as it admitted that while there are existing models and best practices on IP education in the country, the problem lies in coordination and integration into a systematic and coherent program.

"A basic education that is culturally sensitive is an essential means for IPs to claim their other rights, exercise self-determination, and expand the choices available to them," Luistro said then in coming up with the framework.

The education policy framework for IP seeks to ensure the provision of quality basic education for all IPs that will lead to functional literacy. They will also be provided with culture-sensitive and responsive basic education through formal and alternative learning system.

It also calls for the adoption of appropriate basic education pedagogy, content, and assessment through the integration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices in all learning areas and processes. (AH/Sunnex)

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