The provincial head of the Department of Education recommended the closing of the Salugpongan Community Learning Center (STTICLC) and offered soldiers to act as ‘para-teachers’ to the indigenous children.
This were the recommendations raised in a letter from DepEd Davao del Norte Superintendent Dr. Josephine Fadul to the DepEd regional office last May 12. Fadul said that the the Talaingod tribal council ordered a reevaluation of the STTICLC, as she proposed the creation of a school in Barangay Butay to replace the learning center, with soldiers acting as ‘para-teachers’.
The recommendations was opposed by the SOS Network as the group assailed Fadul’s ignorance and indifference to the Salugpongan students and teachers who feared the military for their presence in their schools and communities.
STTICLC basic education principal Ronnie Garcia questioned the basis of the closure, as he said the community school had the approval of the tribal leaders when it started in 2008.
Garcia also questioned Fadul for basing her recommendations in her meeting with a ‘regional intelligence committee’ but failed to conduct meetings with STTICLC administrators on their concerns on the security of the schoolchildren and teachers against military harassments.
The SOS in a statement urged the regional DepEd head to junk Fadul’s recommendation as it fails to address the need of indigenous children. The move will close down 24 Salugpongan campuses affecting 600 children.
“The education of children especially in the rural communities is lagging behind the universal education targets. But such decision from a supposed educator only undermines the right of the children to access to education and also to efforts of community educators whose commitment is to thelp these children,” their statement said.
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