Luz Almeda, DepEd-Region 12 director, said the facility, dubbed Center for Indigenous People's Education (CIPE), houses an administration office, library, training room and a mini museum.
Almeda said CIPE will be managed by DepEd-South Cotabato and will be located in its compound. In a simple launching ceremony here, she said the facility “will play a major role in their efforts to promote the preservation of various indigenous cultures in the region”.
The center was established through the assistance of the Australian-funded Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) project.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said opening of the facility “is very important for the province as it would eventually help restore the dying cultural heritage of local tribal folks, especially of the T'boli's.
The center will initially conduct a training on creative writing for at least 15 teachers from nine pilot schools in the province later this month. The training will cover poetry and short story writing, focusing on the integration of IP themes and experiences to enhance the delivery ofthe IP curriculum.
"Most of our IP children no longer know how to perform their native songs and dances. They are now more exposed to foreign languages, cultures and learning that they could hardly understand and master," said Allan Farnazo, DepEd-South Cotabato assistant superintendent. He said the training would be conducted by Jesuit Fr. Albert E. Alejo, head of the Mindanawon Foundation and professor at the Ateneo de Davao University.
Farnazo said the CIPE would give utmost attention to the plight of the IPs and students would eventually receive curricula suited for them.
Aside from the training, the nine pilot schools will receive P10,000 each from the BEAM project for the initial implementation of the IP curriculum.
The CIPE pilot schools are T'boli National High School, Koronadal National Comprehensive High School Annex-Bacongco Campus, Lake Sebu National High School, Lampitak National High School-Tampakan Annex, Lampitak Elementary School, Landan National High School in Polomolok, Lamlahak Elementary School in Lake Sebu, Lugan Central Elementary School and Engkong Elementary School.