By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In an effort to improve the delivery of basic education and contribute to peace-building in the Mindanao, a P3.6-billion education program has been rolled out by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Australian government.
The Australian Embassy, in a statement, noted that the ARMM has rolled out the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao (Pathways) – a program funded by the government of Australia.
The “Pathways” is a nine-year program designed to improve the delivery of basic education and contribute to peace-building in the ARMM. It was launched in Davao City in March 2017 attended by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza, and ARMM Regional Executive Secretary Atty Laisa Alamia.
For DepEd-ARMM Secretary Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., Pathways “would support the Philippine government’s effort to strengthen its core education services with a focus on institutional strengthening; curriculum, learning and delivery; teacher management and teaching quality; and policy, planning, and data management.”
With support from Pathways, Mitmug said the DepEd-ARMM “will be investing heavily in evidence-based programs and approaches in our effort to improve the delivery of basic education in this part of the country.”
Mitmug added the program’s emphasis is on the K to 3 levels – noting the significance of quality basic education as the foundation for lifelong learning. “We believe that if we equip our grade-schoolers, they will be better prepared for intermediate, secondary and tertiary education as well as technical and vocational training,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Australian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Mat Kimberley noted Australia’s “continuing support to peace and development initiatives” in the southern Philippines especially in the ARMM. “Australia is committed to our partnership with the Philippines, a seven-decade-long bilateral relationship that has gone from strength to strength,” he said. “Australia remains the Philippines’ largest development partner in the education sector,” he added.
“Pathways will build on the gains of Australia’s previous programs in the ARMM [and] will closely engage education stakeholders, and promote innovation in education,” Kimberly added.
Australia said its support to education initiatives in the ARMM is “longstanding” — starting from the 10-year Basic Education Assistance in Mindanao project which was launched in 2002, succeeded by the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao which was implemented from 2012 to 2017.