First History Seminar-Workshop, June 2013
Under the auspices of the US Institute for Peace (USIP), CPS conducted the first of three workshops for history teachers from Mindanao State University on June 21-23, 2013. This workshop is part of the two-year project entitled “Teaching Enriched History and Bridging Cultures: In Search of Peace in Mindanao, Philippines.” Dr. Federico Magdalena, Project Investigator, went to Iligan City to supervise the successful conduct of the workshop. He was assisted by Dr. Samuel Anonas, Dr. Faina Abaya-Ulindang, and Dr. Jamail Kamlian, project coordinators from MSU.
The project’s objectives are: (1) to enhance the capacity of selected history teachers, and (2) the early prevention of violent conflicts, and promoting a culture of peace among students who belong to Christian, Muslim and Lumad (term for tribal communities who are neither Muslims nor Christians) ethnic groups.
A principal concern of the project is to promote peace-building efforts in sync with national and local initiatives, such as the MSU program of integration for which the university owes its reason for being. MSU is the second largest state university founded in 1961 to address the educational needs of the Muslims and tribal communities in Mindanao, and make them productive citizens (rather than problems) of the nation. The project goals also coincide with the current peace talks between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government, now at its tail-end. The peace process is connected with the Moro (Muslim) aspiration for self-government in Mindanao, which has been going on for the last four decades.
The workshop brought 44 teachers from six MSU campuses to listen to lectures, and design an innovative curriculum where students learn knowledge and skills of local history (history of Muslims and Lumad peoples), and peacemaking. Through this curriculum – enriched with peace education – the students will acquire values of trust, cooperation, and peaceful co-existence in a multicultural setting. The wide social distance between Muslims, Christians, and Lumads will hopefully diminish. Eventually, they serve as bridges of cross-cultural understanding in their own communities. Such change is resonant with the mandate of MSU to integrate the Muslims and Christians and bring about harmony, peace and development in the southern Philippines.
MSU President Macapado Muslim, who graced the opening ceremony, congratulates the organizers for inculcating peace concepts in the curriculum. He believes that multiculturalism needs a culture-sensitive education not only for Muslims but for Christian as well. Dr. Datumanong Sarangani, former Executive Vice President of MSU and one of the speakers, says the workshop is “long-time coming,” and is very much welcome.
After the workshop, the teachers returned to their respective stations – ready to chart a new direction for teaching local history. The enhanced curriculum will be pilot-tested for four semesters to see its impact on student attitudes and behaviors. An evaluation and monitoring scheme shall be implemented, based on a format using pretest and posttest, to find out if this curricular change is going to make a difference.
Details of the workshop are found here:
USIP is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress to increase the nation’s capacity to manage international conflict without violence. Its Grant Program increases the breadth and depth of the Institute’s work by supporting peace building projects managed by non-profit organizations including educational institutions, research institutions, and civil society organizations.