Indigenous People's Empowerment through Education
Over 200 Aeta students in public elementary, secondary, and vocational schools in Pampanga, as well as children from the Sama Bajau community in Mabalacat City took part in the recent Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Children's Congress. Education is a means for indigenous people to gain self-confidence, be empowered, and exercise self-determination. The right of IPs to education is provided in the Philippine Constitution, in Republic Act 8371, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, and the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Philippine Constitution provides that the State "recognizes and promotes the rights of cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development." The IPRA "provides equal access to various cultural opportunities to the indigenous cultural communities/IPs through the educational system, public or cultural entities, scholarships, grants, and other incentives." The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides that "indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State."
In line with Philippine commitment to achieve Education For All by 2015 and the Millennium Development Goals and to pursue the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda, the government adopted the National Indigenous People Education Policy Framework, in cooperation with the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples. …