The Curriculum and Learning Management Division initiated a Focus Group Discussion on Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Program Assessment aligned with the Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) on January 24-27, 2023 at EM Royalle Hotel and Beach Resort in San Juan, La Union.

The FGD was participated by the division IPEd focal persons, officers of the Consultative Advisory Bodies (CAB), and select IPEd school heads and coordinators.

Assistant Regional Director Ronald B. Castillo emphasized DepEd’s mandate which is to provide an inclusive basic education for all and maintain an education system that will recognize, protect and promote the rights and welfare of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and further reiterated the policy statements of DepEd Order (DO) 62, series 2011 or Adopting the National Indigenous Peoples Education Policy Framework to be an instrument for promoting engagement and shared accountability among government, ICCs, and other stakeholders.

Joining online, Marie Lourie Victor, head of the Indigenous Peoples Education Office, discussed inclusive education programs such as IPEd contributing to the realization of quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education through the BEDP 2030.

At present, IPEd program is being implemented in 227 schools across the six schools division offices in the region namely Pangasinan I, Pangasinan II, La Union, Candon City, and Ilocos Norte. More than half of said schools are in Ilocos Sur.

To date, 22,234 Indigenous Peoples learners in the region are being catered to by the IPEd Program.

Meanwhile, Dalupang Elementary School, Babuyan Elementary School, Pita Integrated School, and Batidape Community School, were among the Last Mile Schools, offering IPEd, visited by the Regional Monitoring Team on January 18 and 19.

Said schools in the Schools Division of Pangasinan I have IP elders and culture bearers assisting teachers and are offering contextualized lesson plans integrating the Indigenous Knowledge, Systems, and Practices Systems (IKSPs). Learners in the said schools from the Indigenous Cultural Communities of Kankanaey and Ibaloi are being taught using their indigenous language.

Established in 2001, the Batidape Community School (BCS) located in Poblacion, Agno town, are actively implementing IPEd since 2015. At present, they have 34 IP learners enrolled in multi-grade classes this school year.

“Our teachers play an important role in preserving the IKSPs of their ICCs because these are already integrated into the contextualized lesson plan they use,” Rolando C. Prado, Head Teacher III, of BCS said.


Milestones in the Division Offices

Development of the IPEd Framework, resource book for Kankanaey, Ibaloy, Kalanguya, Bago, and Itneg-Inlaud, Cultural Standards, and IP-contextualized curriculum were among the major accomplishments of the decade-long IPEd program in the region.

Increased involvement of stakeholders in the IPEd program and the active partnerships with the local and provincial governments were among those cited by the division IPEd focal persons on sustaining the program for the IP learners.

“Region I pioneered the ‘Dalluyon’ approach, as inspired by the changing times, and as a relative approach to curriculum contextualization processes is done by determining the activities, rituals, and practices that are visible and applicable to today’s generation,” Rica A. Perez, education program supervisor and in-charge of IPEd, shares.

She added, “we go through changes as a community, and part of it is the cultural processes. Cultural assimilation is the process of adapting a culture and becoming it.”

In Candon City, all six IPEd implementing schools have established “Balay ti Tribu” (Tribal House) which showcases their indigenous tangible culture to their learners and visitors. 

Recognizing the active role of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur in pursuing indigenous peoples’ culture and rights, the schools division of Ilocos Sur has received funding support amounting to 2.5 million for school equipment of the IPEd schools this year.

In the SDO I Pangasinan, the IPEd program also contributed to the advocacy of IP rights through the dissemination of RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act in training conducted.

Moreover, SDO Ilocos Norte shared the positive impact of the program on the pride and dignity of the IPs and shared responsibility and accountability between and among the ICCs through DO 62 s. 2011, where the policy adopts a rights-based approach.

In La Union Division, thru DO 32, s. 2015, contextualization of the learning resources, integration of the IKSPs in the teaching and learning process and community engagement were undertaken to strengthen the program implementation.

Conduct of Free-Prior Informed Consent before introducing any program or activity in the school made the decision-making in the IP communities more inclusive and empowering in Pangasinan II division.

The IPEd Program is DepEd’s response to the right of the IPs to basic education that is responsive to their context, respects their identities, and promotes their IKSPs, objectives, and other aspects of their cultural heritage.

By: Joanna D. Sabado, Public Affairs Unit