Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is advocating for the inclusion of Arabic language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) in all elementary schools outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

He made this statement on Saturday, during the global celebration of World Arabic Language Day, citing the fact that the proposed measure is in line with the objective of fostering inclusive education in order to address and respond to the diversity of the needs of learners, and to ensure full participation, presence, and achievement in learning cultures and communities.

Muslim and non-Muslim Filipino students will be taught ALIVE, or both, under the proposed legislation.

“Bilang pagkilala sa kultura at mga kontribusyon ng ating mga kababayan at mga mag-aaral na Muslim, isinusulong natin ang mas pinaigting na mga programa sa ilalim ng Arabic Language and Values Education,” Sen. Gatchalian said.

“Bahagi rin ito ng ating pagsisikap upang matiyak na pagdating sa dekalidad na edukasyon, hindi mapag-iiwanan ang ating mga mag-aaral na Muslim,” he added.

In addition to this, the bill seeks to ensure that relevant textbooks and instructional materials are made available, and that asatidz, or teachers, in the majority of Muslim Filipino communities receive training or capacity-building opportunities.

It also seeks to provide Department of Education (DepEd)-accredited or recognized madaris, which are privately run, community-based educational institutions with a primary focus on Islamic studies and Arabic literacy, with technical and financial support for their educational endeavors. Arabic is the language of instruction in madaris.

Earlier this year, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 382 or the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education Act to provide Muslim Filipino learners the appropriate and relevant educational opportunities while recognizing their culture, which includes the teaching of Arabic Language and Islamic Values.

The proposed measure will also ensure the contribution of Muslim Filipinos to national goals and aspirations aimed at making them partners in nation-building.

Aside from public schools and private madaris in the country outside of BARMM, the proposed measure also covers learners enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS).

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