MANILA -- The Department of Education (DepEd) central office in Pasig City on Tuesday denied it ordered the closure of any school serving indigenous peoples (IP) learners.
In a statement, DepEd said DepEd 11 (Davao Region) reported the closure of the center was a community decision supported by a resolution issued by the IP community council in Talaingod, Davao. The council held a press conference regarding the issue on Monday.
"Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanon Community Learning Center, Inc. is one of the three groups of private learning institutions operating in the region that have been granted permit to operate in 2014," the statement read.
The DepEd issued the statement following the recent claim that a Salugpungan learning center in Region 11 was closed “upon the orders of the department.”
To date, there are 73 private learning institutions in the region with most of the learning centers found in Davao del Norte.
DepEd also clarified that "permit to operate” refers to temporary authority to operate granted by the department to a private learning institution and is granted to an applicant still in the process of completing the requirements for full recognition.
"Recognition” refers to the granting of authority to operate by the department to a private learning institution after submission of application requirements, and its consequent approval following the application procedure provided in the agency's guidelines.
On Monday, DepEd Davao Del Norte chief Josephine Fadul said the Salugpungan schools are recognized by DepEd, adding that the permit to operate was issued by then DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro after complying with the requirements and having a curriculum tailor-fit for IP learners.
DepEd said it supports the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) initiatives as stated in DepEd Order Number 21 series 2014 or the Guidelines on the Recognition of Private Learning Institutions Serving Indigenous Peoples Learners.
"It is in the belief and confidence in the role of and partnership with private institutions and community stakeholders that the Department consistently underscores the importance for these learning institutions to secure recognition and permit to operate from their respective DepEd regional office," it said.
DepEd added it encourages IP learning centers to apply for recognition to assure that their learners’ grade level are recognized in the event that a learner transfers or enrolls in a public school or a recognized private learning institution.
To ensure the safety and security of the IP learners, DepEd said it continues with its dialogues with communities and concerned stakeholders.
"DepEd puts a premium on the process of dialogue as it has been one of the core foundations of our work with IP communities. It takes succeeding steps guided by the commitment to arrive at decisions that are in the best interest of the IP learners’ education," the statement read. (PNA)
Photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta and Edwin Bacasmas/Inquirer