The Manila Times reported that Ministers of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), local educational institutions and educators were all present during the first BARMM Education Summit, which was held at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang recently. This gathering of key stakeholders was organized to discuss ways to utilize education as a means of promoting peace and regional development.

The Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) chief Mohager Iqbal and the rest of the ministry led the proceedings at the event. All the attendees contributed to focused, intensive and inclusive consultations on continuing education and grassroots development for the education sector in the region.

During his State of the Education Address, Iqbal emphasized that, “Education is a pillar of nation-building.”

“It can help society sustainably and logically sustain and overcome significant impediments — poverty, injustice, corruption and conflict,” the MBHTE chief said.

Iqbal also read a message from Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte. Duterte’s letter highlighted the role of education in post-conflict reconstruction and in sustaining the gains of peace.

“We counteract violent extremism by nurturing among our children and youth the values of inclusion, tolerance, conflict resolution, and nonviolence,” she underscored. “Let us work together to reshape the future of BARMM by strengthening our education system, filling the learning gaps caused by the pandemic and instituting a culture of peace curriculum to ensure a successful post-conflict reconstruction,” the vice president and Education secretary concluded.

BARMM chief minister Ahod Embrahim also delivered a video message, wherein he hoped that the first education summit would be a fundamental avenue for nation-building.

“The Education Summit is an opportunity to replicate the message of how significant education and literacy are in nation-building. It is also a venue to strengthen and empower local school boards, school governing councils and parent-teacher associations,” the BARMM chief minister emphasized.

Embrahim shared that he envisioned “an inclusive education for all learners and educators.”

“We do not choose whom to teach and who will teach. We aspire for a Bangsamoro region where no learner is left behind and no educator feels unappreciated, underserved or unheard,” the BARMM chief minister concluded.

The BARMM Education Summit was the culmination of earlier local education summits, conducted in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and the Special Geographic Area.