National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza today praises a Lumad school’s system as a best practice model for culture-sensitive education for the indigenous children not only in Mindanao but in all parts of the country, at the "Consultation and Engagement on Land, Education, Environment, and Peace in SOS Communities in Mindanao" in Davao City.
“Our current education system is not pro-Lumad or pro-indigenous peoples. It reflects how history has always treated our indigenous peoples--at the margins of society. There is a need to set up an education system that is sensitive to their culture and will address the needs of their communities,” Secretary Maza said.
The anti-poverty secretary was inspired by the visit to the Community Technical College of Southern Mindanao in Maco, Compostela Valley, a self-sufficient and self-reliant school offering free tuition to its 425 students belonging to Lumad, Moro, and peasant communities. The school applies a transformative approach to education which involves the students, parents, teachers, and whole communities and aims to produce graduates who develop their own communities and serve their fellow indigenous peoples.
Secretary Maza also promised to push for the review of the Department Education Order No. 221, the guidelines on military activity in schools to help put a stop to the attacks on indigenous schools and the disruption of Lumad children’s education.
The consultation was part of the 4th Mindanao-wide Save Our Schools (SOS) Conference aimed at gathering support for indigenous schools in Mindanao. It was also attended by Undersecretary Mae Fe Ancheta-Templa of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, who explained the social welfare agency’s programs for indigenous peoples. The participants to the consultation come from Northern Mindanao, CARAGA, Western Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Southern Mindanao.