Education Reform: Mindanao Final Agreement

III. The New Regional Autonomous Government, C. Education

Article 94:

The Regional Autonomous Government shall have an educational component comprising of existing schools, colleges and universities in the present area of autonomy and such other schools and institutions in the future expanded area of autonomy, with the possible inclusion of state universities and colleges (SUCs) to be decided later on. The relationship of the Regional Autonomous Government educational body with the national educational system shall be that of a system and sub-system with emphasis on the autonomy of the sub-system. In the event that SUCs should be included as part of the educational component of the Regional Autonomous Government, the autonomous government recognizes the fiscal autonomy and academic freedom of the SUCs as mandated by their respective charters.

Article 95:

The Regional Autonomous Government educational system shall, among others, perpetuate Filipino and Islamic ideals and aspirations, Islamic values and orientations of the Bangsamoro people. It shall develop the total spiritual, intellectual, social, cultural, scientific and physical aspects of the Bangsamoro people to make them God-fearing, productive, patriotic citizens, conscious of their Filipino and Islamic values and Islamic cultural heritage under the aegis of a just and equitable society.

Article 96:

The elementary level shall follow the basic national structure and shall primarily be concerned with providing basic education; the secondary level will correspond to four (4) years of high school, and the tertiary level shall be one year to three (3) years for non-degree courses and four (4) to eight (8) years for degree courses, as the case may be in accordance with existing laws.

Article 97:

The Regional Autonomous Government educational system will adopt the basic core courses for all Filipino children as well as the minimum required learnings and orientations provided by the national government, including the subject areas and their daily time allotment. Teaching materials and curriculum contents shall promote solidarity, unity in diversity, Filipino and Islamic values.

Article 98:

The addition of more required learnings and instructional materials shall be the prerogative and responsibility of the Autonomous Government.

Article 99:

The minimum requirements and standards prescribed by Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will be followed by the Autonomous Region.

Article 100:

The same textbooks of the National Government will be used by schools in the Autonomous Region. The formulation, shaping and revision of textbooks are the responsibilities of the Regional Autonomous Government and the National Government and within agreed norms, academic freedom and relevant legal limits, the formulation and revisions shall emphasize Islamic values or orientation, in addition to Filipino values which include Christian values and values of indigenous people, modern sciences and technology as well as the latest educational thrusts. Having adopted the core curriculum of the national government in consideration of achieving the highest quality of education, students and graduates of the education system of the Autonomous Region shall be fully accredited when they transfer to non autonomous regions.

Article 101:

The integration of Islamic Values in the curriculum should be done gradually after researches and studies are conducted.

Article 102:

The teachings of Islamic Values, as well as Filipino values, shall be incorporated in Good Manners and Right Conduct in appropriate grade levels including the tertiary level subject to agreed norms, academic freedom, and legal limitations.

Article 103:

Muslim culture, mores, customs and traditions which are mainly based on Islam, as well as the cultures, mores, customs, and traditions of Christians and indigenous people, shall be preserved through the regular public and special schools in the Autonomous Region, considering that schools are perpetuating vehicles of the values of the people.

Article 104:

The management and control, and supervision of the entire educational system in the area of autonomy shall be the primary concern of the Regional Autonomous Government, consistent with the declared policies of national educational bodies. The national education bodies shall monitor compliance by the regional educational system with national educational policies, standards and regulations in collaboration with the educational authorities of the autonomous region. The head of the educational system of the Regional Autonomous Government shall have the right to participate in policy and decision making activities of the national educational bodies.

Article 105: The Regional Autonomous Government shall be represented in the Board of SUCs in the region as co-chairman or at least, co-vice-chairman, as may be provided by law. Appointment to SUC Boards shall be made by the President of the Philippines.

Article 106: The Regional Autonomous Government will be responsible for specific administrative, management functions and powers, educational supervision and school administration, and regulation over private schools.

Article 107: The organizational structure of the educational system in the autonomous region shall follow the basic structure of the national educational system. The Regional Legislative Assembly may add special structures, if necessary. It shall follow whatever organizations of the curricular years as found in the national set-up.

Article 108: Locally funded programs will be the responsibility of the Regional Autonomous Government.

Article 109: The selection, recruitment, appointment and promotion of teachers and employees shall be the responsibility of the Regional Autonomous Government in accordance with general qualification standard prescribed by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) provided that the Regional Autonomous Government can initiate regionally-defined standards which are not below national standards.

Article 110: The selection, recruitment, appointment and promotion of elementary, secondary and tertiary education employees shall be the responsibility of the Regional Autonomous Government in accordance with general standards of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and other recognized bodies.

Article 111: Primary disciplinary authority over officials and employees of the Regional Autonomous Government will be the area of concern of the Regional Autonomous Government in accordance with Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules and regulations. Administrative sanctions deemed appropriate and reasonable as determined by the Civil Service Commission will be the area of concern of the Regional Autonomous Government.

Article 112: Religious instruction in public schools should be optional, with the written consent of the parent/guardian, taught by the authorities of the religion to which the student belongs, and should not involve additional costs to the government in accordance with national policies.

Article 113: Filipino and English shall be the medium of instruction in the areas of the Autonomy; provided that Arabic shall be an auxiliary medium of instruction.

Article 114: Regional languages may be used as auxiliary official languages in the region as well as auxiliary medium of instruction and communication.

Article 115: Arabic shall be recognized as a medium of instruction in Madaris (schools) and other Islamic institutions.

Article 116: Arabic shall be taught as a subject in all appropriate grade levels as presently required in the existing laws for Muslims, and optional, for non-Muslims.

Article 117: Existing Madaris, including Madaris Ulya shall be under the Regional Autonomous Government educational system as presently organized in the area of autonomy.

Article 118: Madaris teachers shall receive compensation out of the funds of the Regional Autonomous Government provided they are employed in the public schools.

Article 119: The Regional Autonomous Government educational system shall develop the full potentials of its human resources, respond positively to changing needs and conditions and needs of the environment, and institutionalize non-formal education.

Article 120: The educational system shall respond positively and effectively to the changing needs and conditions of the times as well as regional and national needs of the environment through the proper use of the latest educational technology, development, planning, monitoring, evaluation, and appropriate and timely educational intervention as well as linkages with national and international institutions.

Article 121: The Regional Autonomous Government educational system shall institutionalize non-formal education in scope and methodology, to include literacy, numeracy and intensive skills training of the youth and adult, to allow them to participate actively and productively in the mainstream of regional and national life.

Article 122: Universities and colleges in the areas of autonomy may seek and receive overseas donations for educational purposes.

Article 123: The Regional Autonomous Government educational system will handle, by administrative arrangement with the national DECS, CHED, and TESDA scholarship programs, both local and foreign, including those provided by the autonomous region pursuant to the provision of existing laws.

Article 124: Disadvantaged but deserving students will be given financial assistance by the Regional Autonomous Government out of funds given by the national government for the purpose and from other sources of funds.

Article 125: Funds for education constituting the share of the Regional Autonomous Government as contained in the General Appropriations Act should be given directly to the Autonomous Government.

Implementation History

1996

Intermediate Implementation

The education articles in the 1996 accord call for ARMM schools to follow the same basic structure as the national Filipino school system in regards to standards and guidelines. The GRP’s primary implementation responsibility is to provide equal opportunity to education in the ARMM. In practical terms, this should mean proportionate funding, or an equitable share of funding, for ARMM schools - relative to the population size of the ARMM. Based on information gathered from the GRP National Statistics Office, the amount of money allocated to the ARMM educational system seems to be equitable relative to the funding of the other provinces, although these statistics do not go back to1996. According to the latest Department of Education Budget, 1.6 billion pesos (38.2 million U.S. dollars) were spent on Kindergarten education, for example. The ARMM received 52.1 million pesos (1.2 million U.S. dollars). The ARMM received 3.14 % of the entire Kindergarten budget for the country.1 Based on population statistics, the population of the ARMM was 3.15% of the total population. Hence, it appears that the GRP allocates educational funding based closely on population figures.2 Based on data from the fiscal yearbooks, we estimate that the GRP contributes an equitable share of funding to ARMM schools relative to the population size of the ARMM.

1997

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments pertaining to education reform in the ARMM took place this year. 

1998

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments pertaining to education reform in the ARMM took place this year. 

1999

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments pertaining to education reform in the ARMM took place this year. 

2000

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments pertaining to education reform in the ARMM took place this year. 

2001

Intermediate Implementation

Article 104 states that “the management and control, and supervision of the entire educational system in the area of autonomy shall be the primary concern of the Regional Autonomous Government.” The Republic Act no. 9155 (also called the Governance of Basic Education Act) was passed in August 2001. Section 13 of the act states that the ARMM is responsible for the educational system in the autonomous region. Republic Act 9155 made primary education compulsory and free for children age 7-13, and secondary education free but not compulsory.3

King and Guerra report that in 2001 the GRP implemented a decentralized approach to education with respect to the ARMM.4

  • 3. "Philippines: World Data on Education," UNESCO (2006/2007), accessed August 27, 2012, http://www.ibe.unesco.org.
  • 4. Elizabeth M. King and Susana Cordeiro Guerra, "Education Reforms In East Asia: Policy, Process, and Impact,” in East Asia Decentralizes: Making Local Government Work (World Bank, Washington D.C., 2005), 179-207.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments pertaining to education reform in the ARMM took place this year. 

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No major developments pertaining to education reform in the ARMM took place this year.

2004

Full Implementation

In 2004, the development and institutionalization of madrasa education was approved by the GRP Department of Education under DepED Order No. 51. The ARMM also adopted the national standard curriculum in the same year with Executive Order No. 13-A. These two orders essentially bring Madrasa schools into the national fold for the first time by allowing them to apply for national funding.5

2005

Full Implementation

The Arabic language as a medium of teaching in Madrasas was recognized from 2004 onward. Department of Education Order Number 51 and ARMM RG Executive Order No. 13-A helped to upgrade and standardize the Arabic Language and Islamic Studies in madrasas and the teaching of secular subjects in those madrasas that wish to be recognized by Department of Education.6 As of 2005, the integration program for private Madrasas had not received any GRP funding according to the firm that was contracted with USAID to train teachers in Mindanao: 

The recent DepEd Order No. 51 of 2004 orders a Standard Curriculum for Private Madaris that should incorporate basic education subjects into the daily schedule of private madaris. To date, however, the Standard Curriculum is only a policy…The Standard Curriculum, and a broader set of proposed guidelines known as a Roadmap for Upgrading Muslim Basic Education, has not yet received any government funding for implementation.7 

It is unclear based on the accord and legislation whether the GRP is expected to fund the textbooks associated with the program: Standard Curriculum for Private Madaris. As of 2005, the funding for the printing of textbooks and teaching guides for the subjects 'Islamic Values', 'Arabic Language,' and 'Islamic Studies' for Grades 1 and 2 came from the World Islamic Call Society of Libya. It was also reported that the textbooks and teaching materials for Grades 3 to 6 were being prepared by a publisher for the years 2005 and 2006, but had not been printed.8