Indigenous Peoples are social and cultural groups that have shared ancestral ties to the lands and natural resources they live on, occupy, or have been displaced from. The Philippines has 7,107 islands and is located in the western pacific ocean, however, according to Wikipedia, the Philippines consists of about 7,640 islands. Now let’s talk about the indigenous people in the Philippines. About 14-17 million Indigenous people belong to 110 ethnolinguistic groups. The Philippines is also considered a culturally varied country. The majority of the indigenous people are located in Mindanao, followed by Northern Luzon in the Cordillera Administrative Region and lastly in the Visayas Region. As a result, DepEd comes up with the great idea of creating DepEd Order No. 62, s. 2011. Providing indigenous people quality education that is responsive and aligned to their needs.
Education of the Indigenous Children
The Department of Education (DepEd) issued the DepEd order No. 62, s 2011 (Adopting the National Indigenous Peoples (IP) Education Policy Framework) which was formulated following multiple consultation meetings with IP leaders and elders. The policy takes a rights-based approach and directs the implementation of social and culturally relevant education for IP students. The IPEd program provides the indigenous people to learn through an education system that is aligned to their needs. Through this program, culture preservation and their way of living are still practiced. Respecting culture and tradition is one of the main goals of this program. This year (2021) is the first decade of the said program. Providing quality education for over 2.529 IP learners in 42,176 public schools all over the country. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, A lot of indigenous children are still enrolled in this program and continuously increasing up to this day. Hoping that it will increase the number of students in the coming years.
Importance of Indigenous Education
Education serves as a social equalizer. Whether you came from a poor or rich family, you’ll be able to access quality education through the help of various schools and government programs. The benefits of having education is you will gain knowledge, harness your gift (skills and ability) through learning various things in academics. When you hone your skills, you’ll be able to be more competent and be confident about yourself. This is the key to exercising your social, economic, and cultural rights. Indigenous education is essential for indigenous children and youth to stay connected to their cultures. Indigenous education, at its core, refers to the traditional learning systems, ideologies, and approaches that have ensured the continuation of indigenous practices and techniques from one generation to the next.