This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Establishment of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Education (NEUST-CIPE)
Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology Center for Indigenous Peoples Education (NEUSTCIPE)
Best practice Focus Area(s)
The Center for Indigenous Peoples Education is a research and extension arm of the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology serving as a genuine partner of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in their struggle for their rights. From Dr. Arneil Gabriel’s proposal and initiatives, the Center was realized and formally launched in 2017. Since then, it has been the Center’s mission to serve the Indigenous Communities in their cause for self-determination and social justice through interest articulation, promotion, and protection of indigenous rights along with provision of relevant training, and programs towards making the Indigenous Communities self-reliant. The Center also assists IP students in applying for scholarship grants and recently sponsored institutional, provincial, and regional training for the inclusion of IP education into topics/subjects/curriculum in compliance with Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order #02 s. 2019
Background and Problem
The Center envisions to be the Center of Excellence in Indigenous Peoples researches and socially-relevant training programs. Also, it envisages becoming a service-oriented partner of the Indigenous Communities in their struggle for self-determination, political independence, and socio-economic equity by providing them access to government and non-government organizations’ support systems in Nueva Ecija and in Region III.
While doing his research, the proponent, Dr. Gabriel, saw the plight of the IPs in the different areas of Nueva Ecija as well as the need for a support system that will help them voice out their concerns. The initiative was supported by NEUST and its Board of Regents, thus paving the way for the approval of Board Resolution No. 49 s. 2017, a resolution for the establishment of the Center.
Like other newly-established organizations, the NEUST-CIPE was faced with the problem of having insufficient funds to support its advocacy and community-based activities. Nonetheless, all its initiatives and extension activities went well in spite of its small budget because of the trust and aid of both the IPs and other stakeholders be it financial, in-kind, or in sharing of labor.
Solution and Impact
The Center has three major areas of concern. They are indigenous research, training, and development. The novelty of Indigenous Knowledge and Concerns to mainstream society requires that the Center activities are based on research. This is to ensure that the Indigenous Communities’ needs will be addressed through collaboration or partnership. As such, the Center together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Nueva Ecija Provincial Office for so many times has sponsored orientations, training-workshops, and activities for both the IPs and the mainstream.
The Center takes pride that its house-to-house and community information dissemination drives now bear fruit because of the more than 60 IP youths who took up their college degrees at NEUST alone, with 47 of them awaiting scholarship from CHED. The Center also initiated the formation of a cultural dance troupe composed of IP students. This move is to preserve the culture of the different IP groups, have a legitimate group to dance their own dances, and for them to be entitled to additional monetary assistance which they can use for their educational expenses.
From their frequent attendance to trainings organized and co-organized by the Center, the makers of Indigenous products learned how to incorporate modern technology to speed up their production and improve their products to make them more appealing and durable. The incorporation of modern technology and materials in the IPs’ production made their products more in-demand and their livelihood more sustainable.
Since the establishment, the University became closer to the Indigenous Peoples and in the same manner, the Indigenous Peoples towards the mainstream. The elders and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives are consulted and are always treated as part of the projects and co-authors of the establishment of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Education (CIPE) is in itself a milestone since its research is conducted in partnership with them and for the betterment of the community.
Another milestone of the Center is the increase in the number of IP student-enrollees and scholars. The Center also helps in the marketing of handmade IP products from the IP communities of Palayan City and Municipality of Gabaldon. Recently, the Center sponsored the institutional, provincial, and regional training for the integration of IP Education into the relevant Higher Education curricula in response to the issued Memorandum Order of CHED. The Center will continue to deliver fitting programs and services for the IP communities and will unceasingly support the education of IP youths.