After a two-summer intensive training featuring an integrated functional understanding of the local and national history, culture, and the arts combined with actual research, reflection papers, and group and individual lesson exemplars on culture-based education, 25 teacher-scholars from Mindanao finally earned their Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education.

A special ceremony was held in their honor last May 19 at Casa Real of the VIP Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City.

The Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education is a flagship project of the Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (through its Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts, School of Education Graduate School Program, and as facilitated by the Department of Education – Region X) acts as one of the delivering institutions in the country.

The diploma course has a total of 53 graduates since it started in 2015 at Xavier Ateneo.

In his message to the graduates during the ceremony, Dr Arturo Bayucot, OIC regional director of DepEd-X, highlighted the significance of strengthening the teachers’ capacity to “radiate goodness” and not just to transform the lives of the students in our country.

The graduation exercise was attended by the family and friends of the graduates and guests Dr Bienvenido U Tagolimot Jr, education program supervisor of DepEd-X; Irene Grace A Guitarte, XU’s VP for mission and ministry; Dr Junefel Macagba, faculty member XU School of Education; and Hobart P Savior, XCCA director.

“This is the positioning where our dear graduates are equipped and trained with, not just as scholars or teachers but also as enablers on cultural education and cultural work,” Savior shared during the event.

“We need more of them so we are able to strengthen a community of artists, leaders, and teachers who have high regard on developing greater awareness and appreciation on our very own arts and culture,” he added.

The said program has definitely inspired the “cultural warriors,” with their deeper understanding and appreciation of culture and the arts and they all have become “cultural champions” in their respective areas, having been able to gain local, national, and even international acclaim in their works.

The president of their batch, Cheryl Pontillas, particularly acknowledged some achievements of the graduates like awards in research competitions, Araling Panlipunan Regional Research Summits, and even for outstanding performances as educators; recognition for cultural mapping and establishing a strong link with Talaandig tribe to name a few.

Dan Ralph Subla from Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, one of the graduates, who delivered a message on behalf of their batch said: “Evidently, the point at hand is to materialize each of our potentials into its actuality. Not only ours but to who makes us purposeful – our learners who will then become cultural educators in their respective time frames and circumstances.”

The scholars turned “cultural enablers” have realized that they will leave a legacy already with what they have accomplished.

Last May 29, another group of scholars completed their 42-unit master’s program of the same graduate diploma program and will have their own graduation exercise next year. This will once again produce compelling contributions to culture-based education.

The people behind this program consider this a significant transformation brought about by PCEP-NCCA and Xavier Ateneo which by itself will leave a mark not just in the academe but also in our country.

XU Communications Office

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