THE Department of Education (DepEd) has strengthened its links with communities of indigenous peoples (IPs) to identify some 300 priority sites in various parts of the country for basic education access.
The DepEd, under its Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) program, targets the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas so that relevant and appropriate learning modalities can be made available to learners.
In Mindanao, a total of 251 new public schools will be built for schoolyear 2016-2017.
“This is the biggest effort in the history of DepEd to establish schools for IP communities. Hand-in-hand, we shall build schools where culture is respected and where learners are happy and feel secure,” Rozanno Rufino of DepEd’s Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO), said.
The DepEd is hiring 583 new teachers with permanent positions for the new schools in Regions IX, X, XI, XII and XIII where they will be trained to implement the IPEd program.
It also partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the construction of 605 classrooms through its Kalahi-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Program and transferred P500 million for the initiative.
In line with DepEd Order No. 62, Series of 2011 or “Adopting the National Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Policy Framework, and the IPEd provision of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the DepEd adopted Order No. 32, Series of 2015 or an “Indigenous Peoples Education Curriculum Framework.”
Through Department Order 32, the department recognizes the importance of culture in the learning process of IPs.
Drafting of the framework, it said, was made in consultation with indigenous community elders, leaders and implementors of the community-based IP initiatives to keep the K-to-12 curriculum attuned to the educational, cultural and social contexts of IP learners.
Various DepEd field offices and schools have started working with various IP communities nationwide for the development of indigenized lesson plans.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during the August 9 celebration of the National IP Day, wrote to teachers, school heads and officials to “remain focused and prove that we are in this with our indigenous communities for the long haul.”
The DepEd aims to develop at least 500 indigenized lesson plans by end of 2016.
As part of the efforts to maintain an inclusive, equitable and culture-based basic education system, it recently issued Order No. 50, Series 2016, to ensure that the hiring and deployment of teachers for kindergarten, elementary and junior high school is consistent with objectives of the K-to-12 Basic Education Program.
To date, a total of 7,767 teachers and school heads nationwide have undergone basic retooling on IPEd.
“It is not only about bringing children to school, but more important ensuring that education is culturally rooted and that the elders, culture bearers and the whole community are actively engaged and empowered in the learning process. This is at the core of the DepEd mission and our shared commitment with IP communities as we journey with them in their struggle for self-determination and their aspirations for their ancestral domain,” Rufino explained.