Latest News List AdZU’s CCES graduates 1st batch of the 1st IP School

Continuing to play its role in capacitating indigenous communities, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Center for Community Extension Services (AdZU-CCES), witnessed the graduation exercises of the first batch of graduates of the Monte Central Indigenous People Elementary School (MIPES) early this month of April at Sitio Monte Central, Barangay Patalon which it helped established in 2011.

Combining the IP community’s “Songkuan (Harvest),” and the Department of Education’s Sabay-sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan,” this was the theme of MIPES’ 1st Graduation Exercises.

Loreta Sta Teresa, AdZU-CCES director explains that, “For six years, the community worked hard and journeyed together, along with stakeholders, towards their dream to have an IP school near their home. The graduation is the harvest of the fruits of our labor.” In its community organizing efforts, CCES has used the school as the rallying point in empowering the community, as its members have become weavers of their own history.

Tears of joy trickled down the faces of those present during the graduation rites - as the students were pronounced graduates by the officials of the Department of Education. More tears poured when Sta Teresa announced the awarding of scholarships to the 15 pioneering graduates, thus, ensuring the graduates of a continuing education.

The Scholarship grant is CCES’ latest venture under its Education Program dubbed “Bridging Education for IP Youth” which will enable the 15 MIPES graduates to enroll in Junior High School in any public school. CCES Program coordinator for Education Al-Fatima Ahiyal relates that the project was inspired by the success of the IP Education (IPED) Program of the AdZU-CCES made possible by community participation and partnership, thus, inspiring CCES to extend further its assistance to the Subanon community of Monte Central.”

Another highlight of the event was the awarding of the Dakilang Batang Subanon Award, the highest honor awarded in the IP education system. To qualify for the award, a student must have good grades in all subjects. He/she must also possesses the quality of an ideal Batang Subanon as shown in his eloquent use of the Subanon dialect both inside and outside the classroom at all times, with a profound knowledge of the Subanon culture and tradition, and belonging to a family that embodies the exemplary qualities of the Subanon.

Present during the event were Dr. Eduardo Ibañez, Sta Maria Elementary School District Supervisor and Evelyn Cabañiero, Principal of Patalon Elementary School, together with partners from the Junior Chamber International–Zamboanga headed by Ana Faith Ong Chua; Aripin Arasain of Barangay Patalon Council; Eldan Tanding of the Indigenous People Representative-Patalon; and guests, including the officers of Indigenous Peoples’ Organization – Campo Uno, teachers of Campo Uno Indigenous People Primary Schools headed by Rolando Bernardo; and community members, parents and students.

MIPES is the first elementary IP School in the city that employs the IP learning system. It was set up under the IPED Program, in partnership with the Assisi Development Foundation, Incorporated (ADFI). Starting with 69 enrollees from Kinder and Grade 1, today, its population has more than doubled, with 150 Subanon children from Kinder to Grade 6. It is currently managed by the Department of Education and Monte Central Subanon Education Council (MSEC), an IP organization, since its turnover from AdZU in November 2015. 


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