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By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — SciTech and Digital News
JOLO, Sulu, May 11, 2023 (SDN) – The Bangsamoro government through the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) headed by Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal turned over today, Thursday, a new school building worth Php17.04 million to the Hadji Butu School of Arts and Trade (HBSAT).
SDN – SciTech and Digital News learned the school building project is the first ever the MBHTE constructed, part of the ministry’s avowed objective of raising the quality of education in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), as well as upgrading school facilities.
Minister Iqbal, who is also a Member of Parliament of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) under the leadership of Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, HBSAT Focal Person Ms. Rosema Lukman opened the new building for business as they cut the ceremonial ribbon amid other MBHTE officials and HBSAT school officials, teachers and students in attendance.
It took just a over a year to finish the construction which was at the time of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Iqbal’s leadership of the MBHTE, he has spearheaded the construction of school buildings (sorely needed in the region’s various schools), distribution of MBHTE-designed armchairs, hiring of hundreds of new teaching and non-teaching personnel, providing education equipment and supplies to bring technology to teachers and students and help them prepare themselves in the digital age that puts premium on the use of various innovations brought about new devices and gadgets.
The education minister credited the leadership of the Chief Minister for bringing sets of reforms in the BARMM anchored on Moral Governance as well as bringing the regional government closer to the Bangsamoro people.
Iqbal assured the teachers and the students in Sulu and region-wide the Bangsamoro government will do its utmost best to deliver the programs, projects, and services the people of the region expect from their officials.
“If we can do it today, we will not wait for tomorrow to do it,” he promised.
“You must value what you have today (BARMM). This was not given to us on silver platter. We paid for this in blood, sweat, and teachers.”
He was speaking before more than 600 ISAL or Islamic school (madrasah) teachers, telling them they are lucky because scholarship is running after them, unlike before “when we ran after (meager) scholarships.”
Iqbal said the Bangsamoro government through MBHTE plans to construct a public building for madrasah education. ISAL teachers start with a salary of Php16,000.
Kaiser J. Asibih, acting head of HBSAT Junior High School Department, told SDN – SciTech and Digital News how thankful they are for the new school building. He said the two-storey building has 10 classrooms, two faculty rooms, two Mushallah (prayer rooms) for female and male, and a library.
While HBSAT is grateful, Asibih said they are hoping there will be more school buildings to be built by BARMM because they are still in need of more classrooms (as well as chairs).
Presently, he said HBSAT has around 3,200 students – Junior High, Senior High, and College. A section, he pointed out should ideally have from 40 to 50 students, but in the case of HBSAT, 80 students in a section because of lack of classroom.
Iqbal and his party are on a back-breaking hectic schedule, hardly a rest in between. After the event at HBSAT, the MBHTE proceeded to the province’s Sulu National High School (SNHS) nearby for a ceremonial turnover of:
- Digital Duplicator RISO CV1200 with Pedestal, 17 units
- Stapler with Staple Wire, 17 pieces
- Desktop (All-in-One PC), 452 units
- Television, 2 sets
- Projector, 2 sets
- Digital Duplicator 1-Kyocera, 11 units
- Printer (Epson), 535 units
- Android Tablet, 3,376 units
- Wall Fan, 840 units
- Wall Clock, 418 units
- Tumbler, 455 pieces
- Laptop, 40 units
- Water Dispenser, 3 units
- Air Purifier, 3 units
- Flags, 7 pieces
- Chalkboard, 16 pieces
- Weighing Scale, 16 units
- UV Lamp, 2 sets
- VP Sara Duterte Food Packs
- Teacher’s Kit, 371 sets
- Learner’s Kit, 1,177
Earlier in the same day, Iqbal’s group visited the Sulu Schools Division Office (SDO), then slid over to the Muhammad Tulawie Central School, then rushed over to the Sulu Provincial Hall for a meeting with Sulu Gov. Hadji Abdusakur Tan, then to HBSAT. After an hour of break, his group finished off the day’s official itinerary at the Sulu National High School (SNHS).
Iqbal spoke before hundreds of MBHTE AHME (Access to Higher and Modern Education) Program scholars as he impressed upon them the importance of valuing the “dividends of peace” brought on by the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
In relation with this, over at the SNHS, MBHTE Director General for Madaris Tahir Nalg emphasized that this is the first time that happened that teachers (ISAL Asatids) for Islamic and Arabic studies were hired and included in the BARMM, with Php16,000 salary each.
Aside from their salary, he said the madaris teachers will also provided a continuous in-service training by the MBHTE to arm them with a proper understanding of the nuances of teaching.
“They will undergo training on Basic Teaching, Pedagogy of Learning, and ICT (information and communications technology),” Nalg stressed.
The MBHTE official called on parents in the BARMM region, saying this is the time for them to send their children to school because they will learn not only secular knowledge but also Islamic and Arabic. “Be thankful to Allah and the BARMM under the leadership of Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim for the blessings you have received now and the in the future.”
Meanwhile, MBHTE Director General for Basic Education Abdullah P. Salik, Jr. in a statement he shared with SDN drummed up the importance of being adept with ICT, saying this is the age of computers and gadgets.
“If you do not know, or learn about ICT, you will become obsolete,” Salik said. “This is now part of our education to become computer literate.”
Minister Iqbal said the BARMM-MBHTE said, “We need 7,000 ISAL teachers. We already hired 3,000, so we need more of them.” (✓)