Last night, 14 October 2018, at a dinner meeting, muslim educators and peace advocates had a fruitful discussion on how to further develop the Madrasah Schools in ARMM area. In attendance of the said meeting were; Aabira Sher Afgan, Team Leader of Pathways, Ina Aquino. Deputy Team Leader – Pathways, Dr. Ismael ‘Mike’ Abdullah – Head of Technical Working Group, MILF Tarbiyyah, Ustadz Norden Husain – MILF Tarbiyyah, Dr. Sarida Matug – MILF Tarbiyyah, Abdulgafor Abdulhamid – Program Supervisor, DepEd Bureau of Madaris and WESTMINCOM Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Gerry M. Besana.
The MILF have been successful in forging an alliance with Philippine government in pursuing a long lasting peace in Mindanao thus the enactment of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which is due for ratification on 21 January 2019. To further develop their constituents the MILF has adopted the Islamic education system, the Tarbiyyah, an Arabic word which means development, increase, growth, and loftiness. In Islam it means the systematic development and training of pupils in the light of Islamic teachings.
The real aim of Tarbiyah is to develop all members of school on the path of constant self-purification, self-correction and self-development and instill in them the passion for truth, righteousness, justice and respect for others.
This is not the first time that muslim educators have met to discuss the improvement of education or madrasah in the ARMM area. In previous conference held in May 3, 2018, a one (1) day Educational Consultation and Orientation for Pilot Madaris in the Philippines, the Ittihadul Madaris Bil Philippines Inc (IMBPI) had a successful conduct of such conference at the Sharif Kabunsuan College (SKC), Mother Brgy. Bagua, Cotabato City.
Dr. Ismael G Abdullah, Ed, D, President of the IMBPI said in that gathering “The development and institutionalization of madrasah education as well as the standard curriculum for elementary public schools and private madaris was approved and prescribed by the Department of Education under Dep ED Order No. 51, s. 2004. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had adopted the national standard curriculum by virtue of ARMM RG Executive Order No. 13-A, s. 2004. With these issuances, the madrasah educational system has now been upgraded as a vital component of the national educational system, similar to the mainstream school system”.
Pathways Deputy Team Leader, Ina Aquino, explained the sustainability on the Madrasah Education, Support and resources. According to her statement, the Department Of Education (DepEd) has issued the guidelines on the utilization of funds for the madrasah education program (MEP) to support its continued implementation. The madrasah is an institution of Islamic instruction designed to enhance the educational development of Filipino Muslims.
According to Ms. Aquino, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, through a DepEd order, provided for the guidelines that would help sustain the gains of the MEP as it provides the rules for the ailment, use, liquidation, monitoring and evaluation of the madrasah program support fund, including the money for the compensation and allowances of asatidz or teacher.
Western Mindanao Commander, Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said,” I still believe that mutual understanding and respect amongst us is vital in attaining a long and lasting peace in our area. Proper education on diversity of our people, holds the key to open up the very essence of our co-existence in this part of Mindanao.”
Last 12 January, a round of discussions was held in recognition of education as key to peace and development. The stakeholders discussed on how to address various gaps in the implementation of the unified and integrated madaris curriculum for all madaris, initially in ARMM and later possibly all over the country.
The said meeting was hosted by DepEd ARMM with representatives from the Bureau of Madaris Education, Darul Ifta, MILF Tarbiya, ALIVE Program, and many others who are all committed to enhancing collaboration for the benefit of the Bangsamoro people.
The Madrasah or Islamic education in the Philippines is believed to coincide with the growth and coming of Islam, which was brought by Arab missionaries and Malay adventurers who settled in Sulu and western Mindanao. Based on the Sulu Genealogy, in the 13th century, a certain Tuan Mashaika arrived in Sulu and introduced Islam to the inhabitants (Abubakar, 1983).