“If we have a deeper understanding of the culture of our IP brothers, then we will learn to respect them.”
|DepEd Region XI Director, Susana Teresa B. Estigoy|
Thus remarked Department of Education Regional Director Susana Teresa B. Estigoy to the four tribal groups, namely, Kalinga, Tausug, Cuyunin and Waray citing that wider knowledge about the meaning of their rituals, dances and customs is the key to shun discrimination and to create partnership during the Indigenous Peoples Education Forum at the Institute for Indigenous Peoples Education (IIPE), Davao City today.
As an education leader of the region with one of the most number of tribes under IPs, Estigoy related how the IIPE dreamed to become the research hub in Mindanao developing instructional materials not only for the IP children but for the non-IP as well, hopefully offering short-term courses in the future regarding dances which could be taught by IP teachers themselves.
In fact, the institute has accomplished great length of tasks which include the framework of the IP curriculum as a result of consultation with the chieftains of 12 existing tribes in the region, planning workshop, writeshop, lesson planning and packaging and the presentation of the output to the IP community for approval which was all anchored on Section 30 of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act reiterating the legal mandate to develop and use the IP curriculum.
Based on the concept “Lumad ay Pag-aralin, Huwag lang Pag-aralan,” IIPE has produced instructional materials which used concept examples based on the community like A is for Amo (monkey) instead of saying it is for an Apple which will not alienate the learners from their own culture and it was initially launched to 20 pilot schools and now used by 201 schools with 34,000 students benefiting from the indigenized curriculum.
Kalinga Cluster Head Maximo Garming expressed admiration how Region XI gave top priority on IP education and envied the region as one of the recipients together with Region XII and the ARMM of the Australian aid for education known as the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) and he wished that the director could help them start the same program to help them preserve the rich culture of Cordillera Administrative Region through indigenized curriculum.
“Our elders have taught us not to cover the wisdom of the past,” said Garming.
To start their own program for their region, Estigoy suggested that they should identify first the IPs needs and aspirations for their children which may include the ancestral domain and core values as the basis for developing the Basic Education Curriculum using their own culture.
With rapid appraisal of the IPs based on their cohort survival, participation rate and drop-out rate, CAR as one of the recipients of another Australian-funded project called Philippine Response to Indigenous Peoples and Muslim Education (PRIME) may utilize the three-year assistance in their development of the curriculum.
“It’s no longer difficult for you to start because you will not start out of nothing,” Estigoy said reassuring them any assistance the region can give.
With this, the director said that partnership could be built empowering the IPs as she explained her caricature with an child wearing his tribal costume but manipulating a cellphone and computer which means that a member of the IPs can preserve his cultural identity but cannot be made ignorant of the outside world being able to know and assert for his rights using the indigenized curriculum.
“Sana pag-uwi ninyo ay baon ninyo ang isang pangarap na pilit tinatayo at sana mabuo rin ninyo ang inyong pangarap. Kung sama-sama tayong lahat, ang Pilipinas ay magkakaroon ng isang pangarap na makamit ang pagkakaroon ng pagkakaisa bilang Filipino,” Estigoy concluded. photo and text by Harley Aglosolos