Forum stresses educators’ role in peacebuilding

DAVAO CITY — At least 60 school heads, teachers and supervisors from the Department of Education (DepEd) Region- XI as well as from colleges and universities in Davao City convened in a forum held last Saturday entitled The Role of Academe in Mindanao Peace Processes and in the Promotion of the UNSCR 1325 and 1820as a post-activity for the recently wrapped Mindanao Week of Peace.

The forum raised awareness among educators on the historical context of the Mindanao armed conflict, the current formal peace processes between the GPH-MILF and GPH-NDF and the role of women in peacebuilding as provided for in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) No. 1325 and 1820.

Co-organized by the Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM) Inc., Forum Civil Peace Service and the Department of Education-Region XI, the activity aimed  at providing educators deeper understanding on the current peace talks and share insights on their role in peacebuilding.

Results of an AFRIM survey in 2007 confirmed that schools and teachers are the most influential in shaping the mindsets of the youth; thus, they are crucial frontliners in the task of developing critical thinking among students including their understanding and analyzing Mindanao issues and in promoting a culture of peace.  There is therefore a need for educators to be more sensitive on critical social issues and communicate accurate information amidst cultural biases or misinformation.

In the Philippines, peace education initiatives has been started since 1980s In September 2006, the DepEd was mandated to mainstream peace education in primary and secondary education through Executive Order (EO) 570 otherwise known as “Institutionalizing Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education.”

This was later reaffirmed by DepEd Memorandum No. 469, series of 2008 which paved way for the integration of peace concepts in classroom lessons and in school activities, as well as the creation of special bodies within the DepEd that will oversee and facilitate the implementation of EO 570.

In Davao City, the Regional Special Committee on Peace Education of the DepEd-Region XI, chaired by Assistant Regional Director Dr. Fe delos Reyes was organized in 2007. Two years later, the DepEd- Davao City Division Peace Education Task Force, headed by Dr. Elsie E. Gagabe, was formed and has been actively working with civil society groups in various initiatives.

The forum also tackled the significant role of women in peacebuilding processes as highlighted in the release of the UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in 2000  and 2008, respectively. These documents reaffirm the significant “role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response”, among others. Further, these international resolutions advocate for the increase of women’s participation and incorporation of gender in all  peace and security efforts.” (ASA)



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