When we started in Bendum, about 7% of the community had finished grade school. In a recent review, we found that 70% of the community have finished grade school.
This is a great achievement, with 30 students in high school and a number of the youth in college. As we have said through the years, this is an education that is for the community and not simply individual excellence. The community, in a variety of ways, is highly involved in the education program not only from the cultural concepts and natural resource use, but also in terms of strengthening community and adapting to the challenges they face. On another level, it is an education that allows us to engage with a greater degree of equity in society and the understanding of market forces.
The students today not only deal with the learning competencies of the DepEd curriculum, but also the knowledge of land use change in Mindanao, assisted natural regeneration (ANR), and agro-forestry, as well as the need for ecological services payments (PES) and the new Mindanao 2030 development plan. We need to engage as citizens with local and national governments.