DepEd steps up education for indigenous people

By Alexander Villafania

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA - An agency serving as a delivery facility for all education materials for indigenous people has been opened by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Called the Indigenous People’s Education Office (IPsEO), the new sub-agency will serve as a clearing house and lead in planning, implementing, and monitoring activities related to indigenous people's education.

The creation of IPsEO follows a mandate under Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 wherein government offices are to recognize and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities by integrating activities within their framework of policies.

DepEd also sought to establish a more pertinent policy for indigenous people by creating the National Indigenous People’s Policy Framework in 2011. This would provide the basis for promotion of education for indigenous people through shared accountability, continuous dialogue, engagement, and partnerships.

The Philippines’ Response to Indigenous People’s and Muslim Education (PRIME) recently held an exhibit at the DepEd headquarters in Pasig City.

Education for indigenous people is different as it is integrated into their communities’ nuances. Basic education materials are also delivered in the mother tongue of the indigenous culture. This enables the Philippine government to provide basic to advanced learning while preserving cultural heritage.

According to the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), there are between 14 million to 17 million Filipinos spread across 110 ethno-linguistic groups. Most of these ethnic groups are concentrated in Mindanao with 61 percent. Luzon has 33 percent of these indigenous people while the rest are in Visayas.

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