AdZU’s CCES graduates 1st batch of the 1st IP School
to play its role in capacitating indigenous communities, the Ateneo de
Zamboanga University Center for Community Extension Services (AdZU-CCES), witnessed
the graduation exercises of the first batch of graduates of the Monte Central
Indigenous People Elementary School (MIPES) early this month of April at Sitio
Monte Central, Barangay Patalon which it helped established in 2011.
the IP community’s “Songkuan (Harvest),”
and the Department of Education’s
Sabay-sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan,” this was the theme
of MIPES’ 1st Graduation Exercises.
Sta Teresa, AdZU-CCES director explains that, “For six years,
the community worked hard and journeyed together, along with stakeholders,
towards their dream to have an IP school near their home. The graduation is the
harvest of the fruits of our labor.” In its community organizing efforts, CCES
has used the school as the rallying point in empowering the community, as its
members have become weavers of their own history.
Tears of joy trickled down the faces
of those present during the graduation rites – as the students were pronounced graduates
by the officials of the Department of Education. More tears poured when Sta Teresa
announced the awarding of scholarships to the 15 pioneering graduates, thus,
ensuring the graduates of a continuing education.
The Scholarship grant is CCES’
latest venture under its Education Program dubbed
“Bridging Education for IP Youth” which will enable
the 15 MIPES graduates to enroll in Junior High School in any public school. CCES
Program coordinator for Education Al-Fatima Ahiyal relates that the
project was inspired by the success of the IP
Education (IPED) Program of the AdZU-CCES made possible by community
participation and partnership, thus, inspiring CCES to extend further its
assistance to the Subanon community of Monte Central.”
highlight of the event was the awarding of the Dakilang Batang Subanon Award, the highest honor awarded in the IP
education system. To qualify for the award, a student must have good grades in
all subjects. He/she must also possesses the quality of an ideal Batang Subanon
as shown in his eloquent use of the Subanon dialect both inside and outside the
classroom at all times, with a profound knowledge of the Subanon culture and
tradition, and belonging to a family that embodies the exemplary qualities of
Present during the event were Dr.
Eduardo Ibañez, Sta Maria Elementary School District Supervisor and Evelyn Cabañiero, Principal of Patalon Elementary School, together
with partners from the Junior Chamber International–Zamboanga
headed by Ana Faith Ong Chua; Aripin Arasain of Barangay Patalon Council; Eldan
Tanding of the Indigenous People Representative-Patalon; and guests, including
the officers of Indigenous Peoples’ Organization – Campo Uno, teachers of Campo
Uno Indigenous People Primary Schools headed by Rolando Bernardo; and community
members, parents and students.
MIPES is the first elementary IP
School in the city that employs the IP learning system. It was set up under the
IPED Program, in partnership with the Assisi Development Foundation,
Incorporated (ADFI). Starting with 69 enrollees from Kinder and Grade 1, today,
its population has more than doubled, with 150 Subanon children from Kinder to
Grade 6. It is currently managed by the Department of Education and Monte
Central Subanon Education Council (MSEC), an IP organization, since its
turnover from AdZU in November 2015.