Multi-billion Australian funded education program in ARMM launched

November 21, 2012 11:00 am 

COTABATO CITY, Nov. 21 — Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) caretaker Governor Mujiv Hataman jointly launched here Tuesday the P3.9-billion Australian-funded Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) program in the region.

The opening of the six-year education program took place at Shariff Kabunsuan complex, the provisional seat of the ARMM situated in this city, with both Luistro and Hataman banging a “gong” (Muslim musical instrument), in a traditional Muslim manner.

“The BEAM-ARMM program needs a vast network of partnership with the Australian government and local government units as it aims to reach the least, lowest and remotest communities in the region,” Luistro said.

“We hope that the spark made here by the program would become a beam of hope for the whole of the region as it is contributory to the ongoing peace overture by the national government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” he added.

The MILF is the only remaining large Moro rebel group fighting for self-determination in Mindanao.

Only recently, government and MILF peace negotiators inked the GPH-MILF framework agreement that is seen to pave the way for the forging of the GPH-MILF final peace accord soon.

“Education is the flagship project of the Australian government. Through the AusAID agency, we came up with an education program that is contributory to peace and stability in the region,” Rod Braizer, AusAID first assistant director general, emphasized in his speech.

Hataman, for his part, lauded the AusAID undertaking citing that the BEAM program manifests a progressive design and approach to the emerging education needs of the region in response to the thrust of the government and the changing socio-political context of ARMM.

In same venue, the governor reminded regional education officials to show their utmost cooperation in the implementation of the program, as it would solve half of the region’s problem in reference to the ARMM’s high illiteracy rate.

“Please remember that public service is not a livelihood but an opportunity to serve the people,” he told regional education officials.

The Department of Education-ARMM has some 21,000 teaching and non-teaching staff over 400 communities in the region. (PNA)

LDV/NYP

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