The Department of Education (DepEd) and indigenous peoples (IP) groups nationwide gathered together today, November 12, to strengthen partnership for IP education (IPEd) through the symbolic signing of affirmation of commitment.
Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC said, “Ang ating ipinagdiriwang ngayon ay isang lakbayin na hindi pa tapos. Hindi ito madali dahil kailangan nating umakyat, at sa ating pag-akyat, walang maiiwan. Kailangan sabay-sabay, tulung-tulong at walang bibitiw para masigurado natin na ang ating inumpisahan ay matatapos.”
“Kailangan nating siguraduhin na buhay ang katutubong kaalaman sa loob ng sistema ng edukasyon,” he added.
Part of the affirmation of commitment to IPEd is the inauguration of a pakedlan, an indigenous space for coming together among the Kankanaey peoples of Benguet, at the Baguio Teachers Camp, where a ritual was conducted together with the IP community representatives from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to culminate the gains of IPEd. The inauguration of a pakedlan symbolizes the recognition of indigenous learning systems within the education system.
Luistro also said that the gains of IPEd are not DepEd’s milestones alone, adding, “Ang tatlong DepEd Orders ukol sa IP education ay galing sa inyo [IP]. Ang sumulat niyan ay kayo. Ang IP education guidelines at curriculum framework ay galing sa sama-samang mungkahi at karanasan [ninyo] sa mga nakalipas na taon ng pagsusulong ng IP education.”
Andres Ngao-i, chairperson of IPEd council of elders in the Cordillera Administration Region, said that DepEd’s commitment to IPEd is evident in the agency’s efforts to make education culture-sensitive, culture-responsive, and learner-centered.
“We are all happy that we are true to our IP curriculum; but we did not do it alone. We did this in partnership with DepEd and the local government units, too,” Ngao-i said. He also added, “Our job is not yet done. Let us continue the implementation of this historic Indigenous Peoples education. This is historical in our regions and our country.”
Luistro said that it is vital for the country to strengthen its IP education, especially with the 2015 ASEAN integration, adding, “Mahalaga na naka-angkla ang ating kurikulum sa ating kulturanng Pilipino dahil may papasok na ibang kultura. Kapag wala ang katutubong kaalaman na nakapasok sa ating kurikulum, mawawalan tayo ng kaluluwa.”