MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education has formulated a policy framework for indigenous peoples, aiming to create an educational system inclusive and respectful of learners belonging to the minority groups.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro, other DepEd officials and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat finalized the education policy framework for IPs on Monday.
At the signing event at the DepEd headquarters, Luistro said the policy framework would be DepEd’s modest contribution to the United Nations celebration of World Indigenous Peoples’ Day (observed August 9 of every year).
He said the agency’s mandate has always been to provide basic education for all, one that would recognize and promote the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples to enable them to face various social realities and challenges.
“When we were working on the education policy framework for IPs, we had in mind their special needs, history, language, culture, as well as their social and economic aspirations and priorities,” Luistro added.
“A basic education that is culturally sensitive is an essential means for IPs to claim their other rights, exercise self-determination, and expand the choices available to them,” said Luistro.
While there have been existing models and best practices on IP education based on successful interventions by DepEd, non-government and IP organizations, Luistro said he saw the need to consolidate them to establish a systematic and coherent IP education program.
The DepED will work with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), local government units (LGUs), and other government agencies to provide IPs with culture-responsive basic education through formal school and alternative learning systems.
Under the policy framework, “culturally-appropriate” learning resources such as textbooks and other supplemental reading materials will be provided specifically for IP learners.
The hiring, deployment and continuous development of teachers and learning facilitators implementing the IP Education Program would also be strengthened, Luistro said.
The DepED would also review, harmonize and align its teacher education and development policies – consistent with the National Competency-Based Teacher Standards (NCBTS).
“To ensure compliance of all concerned sectors, the DepED shall organize consultations and dialogues as needed to periodically review the implementation of this policy framework and other policy directives and interventions that will ensue from it,” Luistro said.