Peace education pushed in curriculum
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— A Maranao educator has urged the country’s education officials to make the rebuilding effort in Marawi an opportunity to revisit the school curriculum.
Dr. Nagasura Madale, a cultural anthropologist, said it was important to strengthen peace education and start it among the young to prevent, in the long term, the growth of violent extremism especially in areas vulnerable to inroads by Islamic State-linked militants.
“Educational institutions must teach the concept of peace and nonviolence as an alternative option to resolve conflicts,” said Madale, a retired professor at Mindanao State University.
He said that, as a result of the Marawi siege, there was a need to “manage the relations between and among Maranaos, Maranaos and non-Maranaos, and Maranaos and the broader society.”
Interviewed over the weekend on the sidelines of the International Conference on Marawi Postconflict Reconstruction here, Madale said the effort at fostering intercultural understanding among the vari- ous peoples of Mindanao and the rest of the country “must be boosted in order to increase our society’s collective capacity to address the phenomenon of extremism and radicalism.”
Madale’s proposal echoes the sentiments of Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC), a key institution for dialogue in Mindanao, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a retired soldier.
“Rebuilding Marawi means restoring broken relationships among people and the key institutions for fostering inter- and intrafaith dialogue, and inter- cultural understanding,” read a recent statement of BUC and its dialogue partners.
“For us, rebuilding Marawi is about cultivating a society that embraces social, cultural, political and religious diversity … a national community that is respectful of the aspirations of various peoples,” it said.
“I believe in the need to rebuild relations,” Lorenzana said in his keynote address.
In a message read on her behalf, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that “more than just repairing and rebuilding class- rooms,” the challenge for the Department of Education (DepEd) was “how we can bring back normalcy to our students’ lives.”
Briones said the DepEd was preparing for the eventual reopening of classes in strife-torn Marawi “once the go-ahead is given.”
She is confident that with the agency’s “Adopt-A-School in Marawi” initiative, students “are able to come to class with books, pencils and paper, and more than just a roof over their heads.”
Assistant Education Secretary Resvee Escobedo said some 14 schools or 203 classrooms had sustained damages as a result of the fighting.
The total cost to rebuild these infrastructure and facilities is estimated at P2.3 billion, Escobedo said.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Maximo Rodriguez assured the conference participants that the House leadership was committed to supporting the needs of Marawi’s reconstruction.
He said part of the financial requirements for the effort would be contained in a supplemental budget being drawn at the House.