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The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd)’s In­dige­nous Peo­ples Ed­u­ca­tion Cur­ricu­lum Frame­work or IPEd un­der Or­der No. 32, s. 2015) aims to pro­vide guid­ance to schools and other ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams as they en­gage with in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, like Ay­tas, in con­tex­tu­al­iz­ing the K to 12 Cur­ricu­lum based on their re­spec­tive ed­u­ca­tional and so­cial con­texts.

The frame­work is a re­sult of a se­ries of con­sultations with com­mu­nity el­ders, lead­ers and im­ple­menters of com­mu­nity-based IPEd ini­tia­tives. As a ma­jor mile­stone in the enhancement of the IPEd Pro­gram, it will ben­e­fit more than 1.19-mil­lion IP learn­ers en­rolled in public schools, as well learn­ers en­rolled in com­mu­nity and civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tion-run schools. In line with this, DepEd has started a train­ing pro­gram for teach­ers and school heads in schools serv­ing in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the DepEd, the de­sign of a cul­tur­ally-ap­pro­pri­ate and re­spon­sive cur­ricu­lum is an­chored on the defin­ing fea­tures of in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties: the an­ces­tral do­main, the com­mu­nity’s world­view, and its in­dige­nous cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions. It in­cludes and re­spects the com­mu­nity’s ex­pres­sion of spir­i­tu­al­ity and strength­ens in­dige­nous cul­tural iden­tity. DepEd val­ues in­dige­nous lan­guages in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a Mother Tongue-based Mul­ti­lin­gual Ed­u­ca­tion (MTB-MLE) among in­dige­nous learn­ers in or­der to re­gen­er­ate and en­rich the com­mu­nity’s In­dige­nous Knowl­edge Sys­tems and Prac­tices (IKSPs) and In­dige­nous Learn­ing Sys­tems (ILS). The cur­ricu­lum is de­signed to en­able in­dige­nous learn­ers to be fu­ture cul­ture-bear­ers, ca­pa­ble of ex­er­cis­ing their right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion as they in­ter­act with other cul­tures.

The cur­ricu­lum is open to the com­mu­nity’s teach­ing-learn­ing pro­cesses com­ple­ment­ing with that de­vel­oped by DepEd. The com­mit­ment of cul­ture bear­ers and IKSP hold­ers to serve as knowl­edge man­agers in the teach­ing-learn­ing process is rec­og­nized and their par­tic­i­pa­tion as ap­pro­pri­ate is en­cour­aged. DepEd rec­og­nizes that the an­ces­tral do­main where IKSPs are ex­pe­ri­enced, lived, and learned is the pri­mary learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and learn­ing space for in­dige­nous learn­ers. Com­mu­nity’s guid­ance shall be sought in designing learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing places in the an­ces­tral do­main to main­tain the well­be­ing and sa­cred­ness of the area.

As in­struc­tional ma­te­ri­als and other learn­ing re­sources are vi­tal to learn­ers’growth, they shall be de­vel­oped and uti­lized in line with the in­di­g­e­nized cur­ricu­lum con­tent and teach­ing-learn­ing pro­cesses. The con­tent of th­ese ma­te­ri­als are not lim­ited to ar­ti­facts, sto­ries, dances, songs, mu­si­cal in­stru­ments and the like. It is mother tongue­based and shall abide by the cul­tural stan­dards and pro­to­cols agreed upon by DepEd and the com­mu­nity.

Class­room as­sess­ment shall be done uti­liz­ing tools ad­her­ing to the stan­dards, com­pe­ten­cies, skills and con­cepts be­ing cov­ered. Their de­sign and use shall ad­dress the needs and con­cerns of the com­mu­nity and shall be de­vel­oped with their par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The IPEd cur­ricu­lum frame­work is guided by the prin­ci­ples of in­clu­sion, par­tic­i­pa­tion, and empowerment as pro­vided by DepEd’s Na­tional IPEd Pol­icy Frame­work (DepEd Or­der No. 62, s. 2011 or “DO62”) and is con­sis­tent with the In­dige­nous Peo­ples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 and the United Na­tions Dec­la­ra­tion on the Rights of In­dige­nous Peo­ples (UNDRIP) which spec­ify the right of IPs to “es­tab­lish and con­trol their ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems and in­sti­tu­tions”.

The DepEd em­pha­sized that the mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion of in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties in the in­di­g­e­niza­tion of the na­tional cur­ricu­lum shall be in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized through com­mu­nity en­gage­ment pro­cesses, mech­a­nisms and ac­tiv­i­ties mu­tu­ally en­tered into by DepEd and the com­mu­ni­ties. — oOo— The au­thor is Prin­ci­pal of Si­tio Tar­get, Si­tio Tar­get Ex­ten­sion School, An­ge­les City

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