Nine out of ten indigenous children have no access to basic education, according to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Citing a study conducted by the Save our Schools Network that reported that 90 percent of indigenous Filipino children are denied access to basic education, Marcos said such inadequacy should be addressed by the next administration.
“Our indigenous peoples are living in the hinterlands where there are no elementary or secondary schools. Their children find it very difficult to go to the schools as they have to walk hours every day just to get to the nearest school,” he noted on Monday.
“In addition to distance, some schools located in remote areas are prone to attacks and fighting between and among government forces, rebel groups and lawless elements. These attacks undermine the basic right of our children to education,” Marcos said.
He has always been passionate about youth empowerment.
The first law that he enacted when he became congressman in 1992 was the act that established the Philippine Youth Commission.
Marcos also filed several bills in the Senate to strengthen the educational system and the teaching profession.
“To address such demographical and geographical concerns, alternative ways should be pursued and strengthened in order to help these children to the education that they deserve,” he said.
Marcos described the Alternative Learning System (ALS) as a viable option.
“I understand that the Department of Education [DepEd] has been implementing this [ALS] for several years and I think that it should be strengthened so that it would cover more communities, including those located remotely far from town centers,” he said.
Marcos cited the Instructional Management by Parents, Communities and Teachers (Impact) as a sound alternative to traditional education for children in remote areas because it involves the whole community in the education of the young children.
“Under IMPACT, learning materials provided by the DepEd are given to children under the guidance of their parents and community leaders. Older school children such as those in Grade Six are also encouraged to teach their younger peers lessons based on the learning materials,” he explained.
“We need to think out of the box in addressing the various obstacles were are facing when it comes to providing education to our children, especially those belonging to the indigenous communities and remote areas. We need the involvement of everyone in the community to ensure that they don’t get left out.”
Marcos said expanding free education to areas where accessibility is a big challenge will be one of his top priorities if he is elected Vice President in next year’s elections.