NYC: Schools closure should not compromise Lumad education
Students of a Salugpongan school hold class in a church in Davao City.
Save Our Schools, Release
NYC: Schools closure should not compromise Lumad education
( - October 14, 2019 - 8:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Youth Commission called on various government agencies to ensure the right to education of indigenous peoples in Mindanao after the permanent closure of more than 50 Lumad schools.

Fifty-five schools operated by the Salugpongan Tatanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. were shut down by the Department of Education's Davao regional office over regulations and non-compliance with the agency’s requirements.

Lumad schools have been the target of allegations that they are being used as a training ground for rebels, a charge that organizers and supporters deny.

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In a statement Monday, NYC urged DepEd to accommodate the displaced Lumad students in nearby public schools.

“Above all, the rights and welfare of the displaced children must be given prime importance in addressing this issue,” the commission said.

It also said that DepEd, in coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, may tap Lumad para-educators to develop a “community-based and culturally sensitive curriculum that is both aligned with their cultural identity and with the national standards.”

NYC added that the Commission on Higher Education may provide access to scholarships to these parateachers to study teacher education and the Technical Education and Skills Development may come up with alternative technical-vocational training for out-of-school youth and assist in livelihood programs in the affected areas.

“More importantly, NYC views the need to preserve the Lumad culture with high regard and so we urge proper authorities to put up more learning institutions that align with the contexts of these IP communities,” the commission said.

RELATED: CHR: Education of Lumad students shouldn’t be compromised despite gov’t allegations

Save Our Schools Network, a group advocating children’s access to education, said the closure of Lumad schools is a “clear betrayal of Lumad’s hope for education.”

Last July, DepEd ordered the suspension of the operations of STICLCI schools based on a report by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon alleging the schools teach “left-leaning” ideologies to students.

The 1987 Constitution recognized and promotes alternative learning systems in the country.

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