(Photo by Mohamiden G. Solaiman, BMN, BangsamoroToday)

COTABATO CITY (February 1, 2024) — The Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE)-BARMM, together with the Schools Division Office of Cotabato City (SDOCC) and Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWL) Philippines, held the 1st Bangsamoro Peace Education Summit Conference at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center, Bangsamoro Government Center. This significant event celebrates the 5th Bangsamoro Foundation Day and commemorates the 10th Anniversary of Peace Day in Mindanao on Monday, January 29.

The event aimed to highlight the vital role of peace education in fostering sustainable peace and development in the Bangsamoro region.

In partnership with HWPL, SDOCC has spearheaded the contextualization of 12 HWPL Peace Education Lessons to produce lesson exemplars for the Bangsamoro learners, based on the guidelines set by MBHTE’s peace and justice education framework that instill in the learners the culture of nonviolent culture, social justice and respect for human rights, freedom, and inclusivity.

A total of 28 dedicated writers, comprising teachers from Grades 1-12 from different schools, 8 illustrators, 5 layout artists, and 3 facilitators completed the lesson exemplars intermarrying Peace Education in Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (Values Education) subject areas.

Education Program Supervisors and principals, totaling 17 evaluators of SDOCC spearheaded by Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Concepcion Ferrer-Balawag and Curriculum Implementation Division Chief, Dr. Pancho Balawag, ensured that these plans are not only comprehensive but also tailored to meet the unique educational requirements and aspirations of Bangsamoro learners.

During the event, SDOCC presented the contextualized Peace Education Lesson exemplars that are not only culture-sensitive and grade-sensitive but, most importantly, aligned with the BARMM – MBHTE Peace Education Framework.

Cotabato City Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Concepcion F. Balawag underscored the commitment of the National Government through the DepEd to the call for peace education integration into the curriculum.

“With the notable instruction of the Minister, in the MBHTE and the spirit of final and lasting peace, the idea of integrating peace education into the curriculum was conceptualized and conceived,” she said.

Schools Division Superintendent Balawag said that the crafting of lesson exemplars and contextualizing them underwent a series of writeshops, quality assurance, revision, evaluation, pilot testing, proofreading, and editing.

Meanwhile, MBHTE Minister M. Mohagher Iqbal recognized the partnership of SDO Cotabato City and the HPWL and said, “The contextualization of the peace education materials is a commendable effort to ensure that these resources resonate with and are relevant to our unique cultural and societal landscape in the Bangsamoro.”

Minister Iqbal ensured that the Ministry will be conducting provincial-wide consultations to get the insights of the remaining 10 SDOs.

He further stressed that MBHTE is steadfast in pursuing peace education as this commitment is aligned with the broader mandate to ensure every learner’s right to access quality education that is relevant and responsive to their needs.

“As we reflect on the success of this summit, let us be reminded of our shared responsibility in nurturing a generation that values peace and justice above all. The journey towards a peaceful Bangsamoro is a collective endeavor that requires all commitment and participation,” Minister Iqbal reiterated.

“I am confident that with the dedication and passion exhibited by all participants and organizers of this convention, we are on the right path,” Minister Iqbal concluded.

In the afternoon session, school heads and supervisors moved to Lugay-Lugay Central School to observe the demonstration teaching using the lesson exemplars.

If recalled, in November 2019, the first pilot testing of HWPL Peace Education Lessons was conducted in 7 schools comprising elementary, high school and college in Cotabato City. SDOCC and HWL officially entered into partnership on February 6, 2020, which was renewed on August 25, 2023 through a Memorandum of Agreement.

The January 24 Peace Day was declared by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim in 2016 to acknowledge the civilian-led peace agreement signed between Muslim and Catholic leaders in 2014. The agreement was mediated and proposed by HWPL Chairman Lee Man-hee.

The 1st Bangsamoro Peace Education Summit Conference represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing journey towards lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao. Through collaborative efforts and a commitment to education, the stakeholders endeavor to build a future where harmony and understanding prevail. (BMN network news, BangsamoroToday)

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