Student leaders from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and nearby regions shared their visions on the future of education in BARMM in a webinar held yesterday, pinpointing that inclusive education is integral to resolving longstanding conflicts in the region.
Mindanao State University (MSU) – Marawi Supreme Student Government Prime Minister Nurbani Bin Jamel Macaraya shared that despite the conflicts endured by the BARMM, the region is to be a community of people who are “peaceful, self-governing, and progressive.”
“If this Bangsamoro government is indeed a peace dividend from the centuries-old aspirations for right to self-determination, then I think that it brings lasting justice and peace, not only in their homes, but in their hearts as well,” Macaraya said.
For Ateneo de Davao University Samahan Central Board President Renz Allan Lacorte, lasting peace would be attainable if there are “institutions of peace and policies for peace.”
“We should build institutions that are for the peace process so that we will be able to really trickle down from the system itself to the grassroots,” Lacorte said.
Inclusive, quality education
Apart from sharing their hopes and ideas for BARMM, the speakers also tackled the importance of acknowledging differences, especially in terms of education.
Macaraya noted that development must be sensitive to the context and realities of people including their needs and aspirations.
“We should also be cognizant of the dynamic and diverse peoples in the region as well as the need for multi stakeholder participation for this government to deliver more and better,” he stressed.
He also emphasized the need to study the inclusion of Sharia law, Islam’s legal system, in the curriculum of the schools in BARMM region.
Meanwhile, MSU – Sulu Supreme Student Council President Fatima Al-Raiza S. Sadjari noted that inclusivity means giving equal opportunities to the youth regardless of their religious, social, and cultural backgrounds.
“I envision equal opportunities to all, where the choice of being a productive member of the society is encouraged. This is important because the most valuable thing anyone can own is knowledge, and to me personally, there are many potentials from the youth that should be nurtured,” Sadjari said.
Lacorte added that quality education is not something very technical but must also focus on the formation of students.
“We are not just producing robots, technicians, technocrats in their field. We are producing humane persons who really want to change the world and who really want to help others,” he stressed.
“When we have an informed and educated society, we also have an able and driven society. We need to invest in education.”
Asked by a viewer on how institutions empower student-leaders, Macaraya pointed out that student-leaders should be included in decision-making, by giving them a role and making them understand the weight of responsibility as a student-leader.
Supplementary to Macaraya’s response, Lacorte valued the presence of support channels for the student-leaders, such as leadership programs, camps, and talks, in order for them to be informed and be given inputs.
For Sadjari, institutions and student-leaders should be a two-way support to each other.
“Institutions would empower the student-leaders by hearing them out, by letting them be, and just knowing what they really need. The students should also be constructive and resourceful on how they build up themselves and not just depending on the administration. It should be a two-way effort.”
In an interview, the webinar’s moderator, Gene Jesuro described the guest speakers’ vision statements for BARMM as ‘inspiring’ and ‘authentic’ since they were anchored on personal experiences and exposures.
“Their responses to some pressing issues discussed were insightful as they did not only provide comments but also suggested solutions. On that note, student leaders – all of today’s youth, in general – ought to be included in discourses and provided with more platforms to be heard,” Jesuro said.
The webinar “Next Generation: Future of BARMM through the Lens of Student Leaders” was organized by the Higher Education in the Context of Bangsamoro Organic Law (HECBOL) Project of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in partnership with the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education.