November 29, 2022

One of the essences of Indigenous Peoples Education (IPED) to me is not merely teaching the Mother Tongue in school. Behind this is the realization and appreciation of our culture, which is not familiar with the generation Z – those aging 10 to 25 years old – or even millennials – those aging 26 to 41 years old. There were clamors to abolish Mother Tongue in areas implementing IPED. Teaching the Mother Tongue is considered as one of the factors why we have many non-readers or poor readers and why we perform very poorly in Reading, Mathematics, and Science. The Department of Education said there are consultations being conducted and will recommend to Congress whether Mother Tongue will be abolished or it will be implemented in certain areas only.
Among the legal bases of IPED is Republic Act 8371, “An act to recognize, protect, and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples, creating a national commission on indigenous peoples, establishing implementing mechanisms, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes.”
Section 2 (C) states the State shall recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities/IPs to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation of national laws and policies.
DepEd Order 62, s. 2011 adopted the National IPED Policy Framework and intends to be an instrument for promoting shared accountability, continuous dialogue, engagement, and partnership among government, IP communities, civil society, and other education stakeholders. It also recognizes the role of education in realizing other human rights and fundamental freedom and to strengthen DepEd’s policy on IPED.
Another legal basis is DepEd Order 32, s. 2015 that adopted the IPED Curriculum Framework and recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to basic education that is culturally rooted and responsive.
The IPED Curriculum Framework seeks to provide guidance to school and other education programs, both public and private, as they engage with indigenous communities in localizing, indigenizing, and enhancing the K to 12 Curriculum based on their respective educational and social context. Fundamental to IPED is establishing institutionalized partnership between indigenous communities and the respective schools/learning programs which serve them. This is to be pursued through sustainable community engagement which guarantees the meaningful participation of indigenous communities in the inclusion of their indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the Basic Education Curriculum.
The continuous process of the community engagement and refinement the IPEd Curriculum at the school community level actualizes DepEd’s commitment to the attainment of the abovementioned right of IPs to education. In this regard, for schools and learning programs serving indigenous learners, the aims of the K to 12 Program are realized through IPED.
DepEd Order 51, s. 2014 or the guidelines on the conduct of activities and use of materials involving aspects of IP culture is in line with the National IPED Policy Framework, particularly the policy thrusts to “implement stronger affirmative action to eradicate all forms of discrimination against IPs in the entire Philippine education system” and to “uphold and advocate the protection of the intellectual property rights of IPs.”
These guidelines have been consolidated from a series of consultations conducted by the DepEd-IPED with community elders, leaders, and implementers of community-based IPED initiatives. (NESTOR M. ASIONG)