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Eight points about education in Bendum PDF Print
Monday, 19 September 2011

Children slicing bamboo shoots for a meal.In the course of my engagement with the Pulangiyen youth, I have learned that to be an effective “teacher”, I have to accompany the youth with their dreams – to learn and be able to act together and decide like adults.

Educating the youth challenges us to engage sharing aspirations. To do this, we must have hope – hope that allows the youth to accept their selves and the environment they lived in with gratitude.

1. “Goodness of today”. To convey that the present context is good and not communicate it as if it were someplace that we want to get out of quickly. Each child is respected for who and how they are as they engage in the community, while their expectations are focused on the basic and attainable. Life is not too quick to change here, but to learn of “who and where I am?” in relation to the community we live in allows for surprising change.

2. Development of concepts in “two cultures”. Above average students will succeed in mainstream language, but this is a community school focused on children belonging and sustaining community in transition. Mother tongue is used by the local culture as the medium of instruction. Filipino is thought as a subject and though the students may be initially slower in speaking the language, they have a stronger learning commitment and endurance in high school.

3.Teenagers are a new village group that emerges with education. They want to act together, want to decide like adults. Traditionally by 14 or 16, they make life decision, now they want to keep and active participation in community. They need to learn to act out roles and actions; and the best way to do this is by staging events, collecting cultural knowledge, stories, and songs from elders.

4. Education is for community and not simply for top students to excel. With the use of mother tongue as the basic environment of learning community is involved in development of materials and being a source of knowledge – all knowledge does not come from outside – neither all development. More students go to high school as they feel part of a group and can survive better. Graduates return to the village as they feel they have a place and see a role to play in their community and what they have learned can be integrated.

5. Identity and dignity is the primary strength of what community shares with this young generation. They have a sense of belonging especially needed when they leave. They do not view themselves as less than others and carry with them self acceptance and the ability to share and engage with others. 

6. They have strength in using their culture. Culture has a role in many community actions, more deeply accepted, like in conflict management and land allocation for better resource management. Knowledge of the local environment, resources and uses can be more responsible.

7. Ability to organize events in their communities and to give them roles and skills training where youth can excel. This allows them to have new level of participation.

8. Hope that helps the youth restore their energy and teaches them that sometimes things do not work, as they wanted. Hope that allows them to look at their self with acceptance and go forward with others.

The above points are based on the sharing of Pedro Walpole with the sisters and volunteers in Lufeng dormitory of grade and mid school in China last 29th December 2010.

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