2 BARMM Peace Education Projects Continue after Renewal by PNU, UNE, Others

BARMM News

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(SDN) — The Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTR) under Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal has announced that two peace-focused education projects will continue for the Bangsamoro region.

Comprising the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the Special Geographic Area (SGA) made up of 63 barangays or villages in North Cotabato that opted to be under BARMM jurisdiction. North Cotabato itself is not part of the region.

As a new political entity (NPE), the BARMM was established through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Basically, they are two new projects that the Philippine Normal University (PNU) headed by President Dr. Bert Tuga and University of New England, Australia, represented by UNE Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Simon Evans will manage.

PNU and UNE will manage the projects through their Research Center for Teacher Quality (RCTQ) and SiMERR National Research Centre, respectively, and is backed by the Australian Government through the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao (Pathways) program. The projects are in partnership with the MBHTE.

To implement the projects, the PNU, UNE, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), Mindanao State University (MSU), and Cotabato State University (CSU) have come together as a consortium, with CSU a new member.

PNU President Dr. Bert Tuga, together with WMSU President Ma. Carla Ochotorena, CSU President Sema Dilna, MSU System President Atty. Basari Dimakuta Mapupuno and UNE Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Simon Evans, display their documents after signing the memoranda of understanding (MOAs) for the two teacher development projects in BARMM. (Credit: PNU)

Here’s the article from and thanks to PNU’s Philippine National Research Center for Teacher Quality:

Tertiary education institutions that previously worked on mapping the quality of pre-service teacher training among teacher education institutions (TEIs) serving the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) convened in Davao City on June 22, 2022 to forge partnerships anew for two technical assistance projects that support the basic and higher education in the region.

Top officials of the PNU, UNE Australia, MSU, and WMSU were joined by a new member of the consortium — CSU — as they performed ceremonial signing of memoranda of understanding for two new projects:

  • Teacher Development in Higher Education in the BARMM in Higher Education, and
  • Learning Development (L&D) and Learning Resource (LR) Systems Trial to Support Teacher Development in Madrasah Education (Islamic Studies & Arabic Language (ISAL) Teachers).

The ceremonial signing highlighted the Pathways-organized joint meetings by the Technical Working Group on Teacher Education and Faculty Development (TWG-TEFD), and the Inception Planning for the Higher Education Assistance (IPHEA) package.

MBHTE Director General for Higher Education Marjuni Maddi (with microphone) delivers his message. At left is Pathways Team Leader Ms. Caroline Vandenabeele (Credit: PNU)

In his opening remarks, Director General Marjuni acknowledged the significance of the collaborative projects.

“We congratulate the different universities that have committed to support the education in the Bangsamoro. This is just the beginning of how the landscape of education in the BARMM territory shall see its development. There has never been an effort such as this in understanding teacher development in the BARMM. I think this is the first ever,” he emphasized.

UNE-SiMERR officials joined the ceremony virtually, including Dr. Joy Hardy, SiMERR National Research Centre Deputy Director, and Dr. Ken Vine, SiMERR Principal Research Adviser. Peter Carreon, Australian Embassy Portfolio Manager, also virtually attended the event.

Also present at the ceremony were Prof. John Pegg, Director of the SiMERR National Research Centre; Dr. Gina O. Gonong, Director of RCTQ; Ms. Maria Lourder Pantoja, Deputy Director of RCTQ. Joining the ceremonial signing were RCTQ Senior Program Managers Dr. Levi Elipane and Dr. Ali Anudin; Project Coordinators Dr. Berhana Flores, WMSU Chief of Staff; Dr. Byron Go-Silk, WMSU Dean of External Studies; Dr. Alma Berowa, MSU VP for Academics; and Dr. Arbaya Boquia, CSU Director of Research Services.

In her message, Ms. Vandenabeele shared that their analysis of the root causes of the problems around education outcomes in the Bangsamoro revolves “around teachers, the availability of teachers, motivation of teachers, what backgrounds teachers have, what they actually bring to the table.”

She also shared how the consortium-led mapping study, which looked at several teacher education institutions (TEIs) that are providing teachers for the Bangsamoro region, provided the baseline for crafting these two teacher development projects.

The presidents of the four universities also expressed their commitment to the achievement of the goals of the said projects.

“PNU’s continual commitment to promoting quality education in general and quality teacher education in particular goes beyond the mandate of Republic Act No 9647, designating PNU as the National Center for Teacher Education. This is our contribution to nation building to ensure a brighter future for Filipinos by upliflting the quality and standards of education in the country. We hope to further solidify this partnership in the coming years,” said PNU President Dr. Tuga.

MSU President Atty. Mapupuno, on the other hand, said “MSU’s partnership with PNU RCTQ proves to be committed to our aim for academic excellence in the educational landscape of the country. Its noble thrust for teacher quality not only inspires but also cultivates the aspirations for maintaining our quality service to our dear clientele.”

“For and on behalf of WMSU, I could assure you that we will put in our optimum effort for the achievement of the aims of the projects and the synergy that is brought about by the collaboration of expertise and resources will make things happen,” said WMSU President Dr. Ochotorena.

CSU’s Dr. Dilna also expressed appreciation and commitment on being part of the consortium.

“We treasure these projects. We are very much committed to provide a venue for these projects in CSU,” Dr Dilna said.

Also part of the program was RCTQ Director Dr. Gina Gonong’s talk on Republic Act No. 11713, Excellence in Teacher Education Act and how it complements with Republic Act No. 11054, An Act Providing for the Organic Law for the Barngsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“In RCTQ, we want all reforms of government to be truly contextualized to the needs of the field. We look at the law, Excellence in Teacher Education, as something that should strengthen the organic law for the Bangsamoro. These should be two laws that are complementing each other,” Dr. Gonong said.

Dr. John Pegg voiced his message of appreciation to the consortium members.

In his message of appreciation, Dr. John Pegg recalled how UNE-SiMERR’s initial project in the BARMM recommendations set the stage for this future work.

“Together, we showed last year what we could achieve when we collaborate on an interesting but highly challenging topic. The success in that project has led us to this current work,” Dr. Pegg said.

He added: “I want to express my great appreciation for the willingness and strong support and friendship both of our initial partners and new partners that are about to work with SiMERR and RCTQ in BARMM. I feel like we are a family—we bring different backgrounds, skills and ideas but we are all focused on the same vital endgoal which is to create the best environment possible for the children, the students, the teachers, and the school leaders in the Philippines.”

The first project — Teacher Development in Higher Education in BARMM — consists of three components: (1) Curriculum Quality Audit (CQA), (2) Development of a Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) Review Program, and (3) Review of existing majors/subjects on early childhood education. The second project focuses on Learning and Development (L&D) Systems, Learning Resource (LR) Systems, and Professionalization of ISAL Teachers. (RCTQ Comms) — (/)

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