Classrooms are popping up closer to tribal communities to ensure children finish school.
More than 3,000 indigenous peoples from the Mindanao and Cordillera regions convened at the University of the Philippines in October 2016 to demand from the government their right to self-determination. (Photo: Carlos Umali)
Published: March 22, 2023 06:11 AM GMT
Hundreds of students from indigenous communities on Mindoro island can hope to complete their studies with a new school building in the Philippine province located southwest of Manila.
The new two-story building with eight classrooms, constructed as part of a government project to educate indigenous youth near their ancestral domains, opened on March 20 in Oriental Mindoro province.
“We live more than ten kilometers from the nearest public school. With these new classrooms near our homes, our cost of travel is also cut… I can even ride a bike to school,” Mangyan tribal youth leader Joey Tiruray told UCA News.
With 80 percent of the students belonging to Mangyan communities like him, the 19-year-old Tiruray said many could now finish school at the new facility set up by the departments of education, and public works and highways.
Mangyan is a collective term referring to the several indigenous communities on the island.
“My parents were never educated because school was far from home. My father made an attempt but could not continue after he was bullied by a rich kid who owned a farm here [in Mindoro],” Tiruray added.
In the Mindanao region, further south, classrooms have been built for tribal communities within a 500-meter radius of their ancestral lands since 2020 and more than 70 percent of the student population is indigenous.
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