e-Net Philippines, CSOs, Development Partners will jointly help Transforming Education in BARMM

COTABATO CITY - “Recent political developments in Mindanao where we have a new established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with government led by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) provides an opportunity to move education reforms forward,” said Engr. Addie Unsi, National Coordinator of E-Net Philippines and the lead convener of the conference said in the opening program on Wednesday, April 3 here at the Pagana Kutawato, Cotabato City.

“Education is critical for lasting peace and sustainable development so it is highly important to begin the conversation on transforming education in BARMM,” said Unsi. 

“The impacts of protracted conflicts in the past are huge in terms of human development, education, health, livelihood of Bangsamoro people, and whole development in the region,” he elaborated.  

Keynote Speaker BARMM Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education, Honorable Mohagher Iqbal explained the new established Bangsamoro Government. Iqbal said that in running the BARMM it is coupled by not just good governance but a moral governance. 

“We want to deliver basic services irrespective of Moros, Christians, IPs and all inhabitants of BARMM,” Iqbal said.

In the BARMM, he said, there are tree utmost priority programs and among of which are education. “Education is the number one priority list of BARMM; the biggest budget goes also to education sector, social services and health services, these are the three-utmost priority,” he said.

The role of education, Iqbal said, it is necessary to address the needs of human being here in the world and in the hereafter before we can say it is a complete education. 

“Balance education is an integration, means that you mix secular and Islamic education for the Muslims in the Bangsamoro Educational System,” Igbal said.

The abolished Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), now BARMM has the highest number of illiterates and out of school children, and youth due to multiple barriers of access to quality education.

BARMM has complex issues and need for strategic solutions. Education is crucial to the achievement of this strategic change. 

Paulo Freire once said, “Education does not change the world, Education changes people, People change the world”. 

If we continue to develop people in the post-conflict affected areas, there is a better hope to transform communities into lasting peace and sustainable development.  

Transformative Education is sought as driver of social justice, sustainable development, individual and collective freedom and joy of learning together. Education today is, more than ever, a necessary condition for social inclusion and sustainable development.

The group through Benjo Basas, TDC National Chairman, expressed that Transformative Education in BARMM should have these elements as follows: Education policies align with national priorities, and global commitments; balance education incorporating divine knowledge and values and the 21st century skills; link of education to other sectors; system of education that is responsive, nimble, accountable, and technology-enabled; the governance of education that is participatory, transparent, accommodating, and promote equality; innovation in the delivery of different modalities of education and learning; adequate, qualified, trained, motivated, empowered teaching and non-teaching personnel; active involvement of civil society at all levels of education; and ensuring free public education, sustainably resourced and encourage innovate financing for education.

 The group is confident that this conference shall be the start of continuing discourse and dialogues to strengthen education system in BARMM.

Since the number one priority of the Bangsamoro government is education, the group is optimistic that recommendations from the conference shall be taken into consideration by the Ministry of Education and the leadership of the Interim Chief of Minister.

The program started on April 3 until 4, 2019. There are 96 participants from 35 organizations and institutions such as educators, CSO leaders, policy makers, academe, teachers, researchers, students and media were gathered in Kutawatao Pagana Native Restaurant to discuss education issues in the region and develop agenda for transformative education in BARMM.