"Inclusive Education that Promotes Diversity in Schools and Classrooms"

Pasi Sahlberg wrote:
The school network is based on the idea of inclusive education that promotes diversity in schools and classrooms. Steering of teaching and learning has never been based on written standards, but rather upon guidelines encouraging creative solutions within increasingly diverse social and human environments.
To bring the above to a concrete situation, I am sharing here a short video of Davao Today made by Mick Basa, John Rizle Saligumba, and Lorie Ann Cascaro:

The video above is accompanied by an article:

School brings hope to Ata Manobo children

These lumad children long for knowledge.  Not even their parents can stop them from going to school, even if it means they have to contend with their empty stomachs.
Davao Today
TALAINGOD, Davao del Norte, Philippines — 15-year-old Asenad Bago, an Ata-Manobo, has made his school his home.

This is because Asenad’s sub-village (sitio) is three hours away by foot from the Salugpungan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land) Community Learning Center, located in Sitio Dulyan, Palma Gil Village.  He asked his teachers that he could stay with the school staff.  In return to their kindness, he wakes up early “to clean around the school grounds and do other errands for the teachers.”

For the Ata Manobo youth and children like Asenad, the school has been a great help for them in learning basic literacy.  Without such school, youths like him would have to travel greater distance to public schools in town proper.

Another reason why Asenad prefers this school is that “the teachers provide me with what I need for school like my bag, notebooks and pencil and most especially, food.”
This Salugpungan Community Learning Center is running for nine years and taught 558 Ata Manobo students.

The school started nine years ago in 2003, as a non-formal school of the religious organization Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) in Southern Mindanao.

The tribal leaders of Salugpungan thought that education is key for the future generation, especially in learning how to defend their culture and their land against the encroachment of mining and other industries.

Their hopes were supported by the RMP especially through the efforts of the slain Italian missionary Father Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio, PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions), who was then the chair of the RMP Board of Directors.

Fr. Tentorio, who runs literacy programs in North Cotabato province, extended support to Talaingod.

Later in 2007, the Salugpungan Council and RMP established a primary school.  Now there are 10 Ata-Manobo schools.  Fr. Tentorio had supported the schools through donations and financial support from his friends in Italy.

Now, the Salugpungan Community Learning Center has become a full-fledged elementary school, offering primary education — for free — up to Grade Six.

But, the religious and the lumads’ initiative to gain access to basic education had been undermined with lack of government support.

Even if the Salugpungan school offers free education, the Department of Education (DepEd) has continuously denied its accreditation.

“That’s because we were not able to meet all the department’s requisites; requirements which we think are not practical for a school situated in the mountains,” laments Ronnie Garcia, the school’s first teacher.

He added, they were only given a permit to operate which they have to renew every year.
Garcia, a Mansaka lumad from Mabini, Compostela Valley province, was an RMP scholar himself who took up education course in college.  After his graduation, he volunteered to teach the Ata-Manobos here in Talaingod.

He shared that this year has been more difficult for the school as DepEd required them to submit electrical, building and Bureau of Fire Protection permits, among others.

Garcia also noted that they have modified the school’s curriculum so that it will fit the community’s needs, especially on their culture and tradition.  He added, the school has yet to discuss how to effectively implement DepEd’s new program, the K to 12.

As a teacher and a student once, Garcia said that requiring them to comply with the numerous requirements is tantamount to denying the indigenous peoples’ right to education, an added burden in the midst of their suffering from severe poverty.

Bago himself has witnessed how some of his classmates come to school with an empty stomach.

“Because of hunger, some of them cannot concentrate on the day’s lesson and many just fall asleep,” he said.

Students here bring with them root crops and yams, whenever it’s possible.  They also look for food very early in the morning, which most of the time, stretches until school time.  “That’s why some of them come to school late,” Bago said.

These lumad children long for knowledge.  Not even their parents can stop them from going to school, even if it means they have to contend with their empty stomachs.

“I’m really happy because since he goes to school, he has learned how to speak Bisaya, and to read and count,” said Bago’s father, Dolfo.

But for Bago, he hungers for more knowledge, not only for him but for his fellow lumad children, as well.

“I hope a Salugpungan High School will be established.  We want to reach high school, also, and eventually graduate” Bago said with full of hope.  (John Rizle L. Saligumba/ davaotoday.com)