Indigenous Peoples, Learning Institutions, and Schools

In May 2013, APC held a conference for three days in Bendum on developing management capacities in culture-based education in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Office of the Department of Education (DepEd) and gathered around 50 participants from learning centers and Indigenous schools in Mindanao.

APC, with assistance from the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC), developed the map on Indigenous Peoples, Learning Institutions, and Schools that depicted some of the schools and learning institutions providing culture-based education in Mindanao, and subsequently updated during the APC conference.

APC and other conference participants also sought clarifications from DepEd in standardizing indigenous educational systems in the country:

1. What is the medium of instruction and how is culture integrated in the education?

2. With the use of standard textbooks to some degree due to the lack of culturally-developed education material, how will DepEd proceed in developing more culture-based education references and textbooks?

3. Communities may, due to their history and relation with local government, have a sense of inadequacy and view mainstream education as the best for them, how are their cultural wealth and integrity explored?

4. How are cultural identity and equity presented with critical importance in the curriculum?

5. How is language given fundamental importance as it is a re-enactment of cultural values and practices? Education is not simply an overlaying of a value system and process of “learning” from outside, and needs to come from within.

6. If not teaching through the language of the culture, what special efforts are needed to teach cultural awareness and integrity?

7. What are the measurements for DepED recognition and how are these established? What is the cultural context that DepED recognizes?

8. Can cultural schools have a unique recognition beyond being categorized as public or private?  At present, private schools are considered as institutions of profit.  There is a need to emphasize the importance of DepED Order No 42, series of 2004, and explore the possibilities of using this DepEd Order to give distinct and credible status.

9. How can the apprehension and fear that DepED recognition or accreditation results in assimilation of cultures be avoided?

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