Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit www.mindanews.com for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press (www.atongpress.ning.com) for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

[NEWS] 20 public schools pilot lumad curriculum in S. Mindanao

(Indigenization of a curriculum is at least a bright prospect in the Philippine educational system. What I was not able to ask is how they will indigenize in a culturally diverse setting like the Philippines, in a regionalized system? The Madrasah education in Mindanao is moving in the same way to standardization and government recognition. Although, long delayed kudos to the Department of Education (DepEd) and all programs supporting it.)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/2 Aug) -- Sixteen elementary schools and four
high schools in Southeastern Mindanao are piloting a first of a kind
curriculum specially developed for indigenous peoples, said Norma
Gonos, executive director of the Institute for Indigenous Peoples
Education (IIPE).

The curriculum, based on the Department of Education's basic
elementary and high school curricula, is offered in areas where at
least 70 percent of the student population are from Mindanao 's
indigenous peoples.

IIPE coordinated with the DepEd in developing and implementing the
indigenized curriculum to provide culturally relevant content and
strategies, Gonos told MindaNews Wednesday.

"This will liberate the students in indigenous communities from
cultural discrimination brought about by the largely Western
educational system and help maximize their participation in society,"
she said

Gonos said the piloting is on its second phase this year covering
Grades 2-4 and second year high school classes. The initial stage
started in school year 2005-2006. They planned to finish piloting for
the rest of the grade and year levels in school year 2007-2008.

Gonos said they went through stages in revising DepEd's Basic
Education Curriculum (BEC) to come up with an IP curriculum, which
shall be taught by either IP or non-IP teachers.

They held workshops with community and tribal leaders together with
teachers. From the workshops they drew out core values as basis for
the content of the curriculum. They also drew out mentors' training
needs to teach using the curriculum.

They then held IP curriculum "writeshops" to identify general and
specific lessons from both BEC's core competencies and that of the IP
core values.

Teachers and indigenous peoples' representatives then developed a
final curriculum that would be presented to the IP community for free
and prior informed consent, then to DepEd for endorsement and
implementation.

After the piloting stage, Gonos said, they are working with DepEd in
the proposed implementation of the IP curricula in all communities
where indigenous people are the majority.

"But this IP curricula could also be used in non-IP communities
because it promotes understanding between the lumads and the other
members of the community," Gonos said.

"There is nothing here that non-IP students shouldn't know; these are
the same with the regular curriculum only that it promises to
mainstream the IP children into formal education while preserving
their indigenous culture," she added.

Gonos said the curriculum just localized the general education
curricula with the use of culturally sensitive teaching aids,
illustrations, examples and context.

The predominant groups in the pilot schools are from the Mandaya, Ata
Manobo, Matigsalog, Tagakaolo, Manguangan, Bagobo, Mansaka, Isama, and
B'laan communities. The schools are from 13 towns or districts in
Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao
del Sur, Digos City and the Island Garden City of Samal.

Gonos said they also launched three IP learning centers in the
premises of the pilot schools in Atan-Owe Elementary School in Davao
City highlighting Bagobo customs and traditions; Caraga National High
School in Davao Oriental featuring the Mandaya tribe; and Tibi-Tibi
Elementary School in Davao del Norte highlighting the Ata-Manobo.

Before they started the curriculum indigenization program, Gonos said
they toured tribal learning centers around the country.

She cited some private schools being run by religious groups in the IP
communities that use IP curricula, but they do not use DepEd's public
education curriculum.

Gonos said they are holding the Kasamongan Festival on Aug. 17 to
gather different IP tribes for a medley of arts and cuisine. There
will be lumad rituals, craft exhibits, literary and cultural
presentations. Students from the pilot areas of the IP curriculum will
present indigenous poetry, short stories, dances, songs and chants
during the festival.

Gonos said the primary goal of the festival is to showcase the IP's
knowledge systems as it is passed in pilot schools. She said they
scheduled it during Davao's Kadayawan Festival so merrymakers could
also see the children's showcase of lumad culture.

IIPE is a project of a consortium of the DepEd in Southeastern
Mindanao, Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM), the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and other government and
non-government organizations working on education in Mindanao.

Strengthening indigenous peoples' education is among the government's
goals based on the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan from
2004-2010.

Aside from the IP curriculum, DepEd and the NCIP and other related
institutions also planned to include IP materials and documents in
public libraries to permit information sharing and exchange between
cultures and to accommodate IP students in all programs for children
and students such as health and nutrition, arts and school sports and
their teachers in in-service training programs. (Walter I.
Balane/MindaNews)

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