ipschools1As billows of change roll, so does education for the indigenous peoples in the Division of Malaybalay City ride the innovations and interventions towards more relevant, culturally sensitive education.

For four years now, with the support of Schools Division Superintendent Edilberto L. Oplenaria and Division Office staff and personnel, much-needed consultative meetings and dialogs with elders; training workshops for teachers, school heads, and the IPEd focal person continue. The conduct of engagement, partnership and social mobilization of community culture bearers and other stakeholders also goes on.

The national Indigenous Peoples Education Program is paving the path towards quality education for the IP learners through the K to 12 curriculum that undergoes the process of interface with the community competencies/ IKSPs in consultation with the tribal elders and culture bearers, to name some: Datu Makabadbad Russell Aquino, Datu Sinaligan Harry Sumbongan,  IPMR Jeomar Libanda, Bai Inatlawan Adelina Tarino, Culture bearer Lourdes Ruiz, Elder Claudio Casinabe, Bai Hopie Cajardo, Elder Lordito Lumbat, Elder Laurito Lumbat, Elder Baloan, IPMR Oscar Pensahan, IPMR Rodito Baguio, Winheart Luminton, and Datu Prementil.

ipschools2There has never been a time when the community was consulted as regards education for their children especially on the school curriculum. But now, through K to 12, community engagement and dialogs have become a necessity in order to come up with a curriculum that is culture- sensitive and responsive to the need of the IP learners.

It all started with the creation Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO). Then tribal chieftain and culture masters were called for a consultative meeting in the Central Office. They all decided that education for IPs must emanate from the community.

DepEd Order No. 62, series 2011 was signed by then DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro which highlighted the three principles of involvement, participation and empowerment of IP learners using the Rights Based Approach (RBA).

Orientation and trainings of Division IPEd focal persons were conducted starting 2013 to 2014 -regional, inter-regional and national trainings were held in various cities and provinces for a taste of all things indigenous in those venues. Relevant hands-on experiences were provided by resource persons from IPsEO, namely: Mr. Butch Rufino, Miss Lourie Victor, Mr. Belmer Yano, and many others with the support and inspiration provided by Regional Director Allan G. Farnazo, Schools Division Superintendent Edilberto L. Oplenaria and Regional IPEd Focal Person Josephine L. Valledor.

Engagement and partnership activities with different types of IP communities were provided to match with what was learned during the lectures and discussions.

Meeting all forms of reaction from the elders and culture bearers was a bit unexpected at times yet these challenges balance the equation of knowing and learning their Indigenous Knowledge System and Practices (IKSPs) and the Ancestral Domain.

Teachers and school heads were also trained and retooled on the Indigenous Peoples Education Program where issues and concerns on salient topics were capably discussed by the resource persons.

Schools with the biggest enrolment of IP learners also called as schools serving IP communities who will pilot the implementation this school year are the following:    1] Caburacanan Elementary School (Demie Pabillaran, school head); 2] Can-ayan Integrated School (Sonny Rojas, school head); 3] Candiisan Elementary School (Marylan Tandog, school head); 4] Manalog Elementary School (Berna Bateriza, school head); 5] Mapulo Elementary School (Raquel Ombayan, school head); 6] Kibalabag Elementary School (Berna Bateriza); 7] Kulaman Elementary School (Demie Pabillaran); 8] Tintinaan Elementary School (Marylan Tandog).

Other schools serving IP communities where teachers and school heads in kindergarten to grade three have also undergone training workshops are as follow: Baganao ES (Berna Bateriza), Bangcud CS (Narita Padua), Dalwangan ES (Anastacio Ma), Kalasungay CS, Kapitan Angel ES (Mary Fe Gumayao), Kilap-agan ES (Minao), Linabo ES (Teofilo Ontoy), Patpat ES (Zelda Arceno), Silae ES (Demie and St. Peter ES (Amor Celeste Rojas).

This school year, a new Elementary School for IP learners was opened in Sitio Nalumusan, Barangay Silae, Malaybalay City to provide education to the children  in that area.  Mr. Ariel Pataca, the district ALS coordinator also spends time there for the literacy of the youth. Two teachers from Mapulo Elementary School and Tuburan Elementary School are temporarily assigned to take charge of the classes in Pighalugan Elementary School. [Yandang Elementary School, in Sitio Balaodo will also be opened  under the supervision of Caraga Region]

Luyungan High School at Nasuli, Bangcud, Malaybalay City started operation for IP learners coming from the seven tribes of Bukidnon  last June. The 66 learners are stay-in students with three volunteer high school teachers under the leadership of the school Principal of Bangcud National High School Dinaflor Raagas, and teacher-overseer Mrs. Leonila Plazos.  To enforce supervision, Public Schools District Supervisor of District 7 Noel A. Tan Nery, conducts regular visits to the school as well as regional IPEd focal person  Josephine Valledor.

The ceremonial opening of these schools was conducted with DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro as keynote speaker, June 2. Officials from the DepEd Region 10 led by Regional Director Allan Farnazo participated actively with officials from the Divisions of Bukidnon, Gingoog City, Iligan City,  Lanao del Norte, Malaybalay City, Oroquita City, and Valencia City.

This year, we look forward to more writeshops and workshops to produce learning resources that will be used by teachers in  schools serving IP communities.

The ebb and tide of interventions for continuous improvement in the realm of education bring an onslaught of drift wood to the shore in the form of basic skills and competencies which are expected to catch attraction of its uniqueness making ripples as it spirals to its actual target of fulfilment not only for the IP learners but the entire studentry.

To conclude, as we celebrate the National IP Day, may we all come to reflect of our role as duty bearers to welcome to this office all types of visitors from the meek to the humble, the lowly, peace loving and the not so …. May they all feel happy that they came to this office for assistance. If we can mark that as priority of our tasks then we will feel more blessed than they are.

-by jdz