The Madrasah education program was formulated to meet the needs of Muslim Filipino children. According to DepEd Order 51, signed in 2004, all public and private Madaris (plural form of Madrasah) in Muslim communities are encouraged to implement the curriculum.
Madrasah is an Arabic word which means school. It is derived from the root word dars, which connotes a learning process carried through drill lesson. Also derived from the same root are mudarres (a male teacher), mudarresah (a female teacher) and derrasah (studying or studied subject).
Madrasah education is a system of education which emphasizes on Arabic literacy, Islamic values (universal moral values based on Islam), and the Islamic religion. The program components of Muslim basic education are: 1) development and institutionalization of Madrasah Education; 2) upgrading quality basic education to the level of the national performance indicators and achievement levels; and 3) alternative learning system and livelihood skills development for Filipino Muslims out-of-school and for present day students of Private Madaris.
History and objectives
Madrasah education made possible the survival of Islam in the Philippines, amidst the colonization efforts of the Spaniards and Americans. Furthermore, Department of Education Undersecretary for Muslim Affairs Manaraos Boransing said that “Madrasah was the only form of education available to the Bangsa Moro. Yet, it was an uneven education because secular education was not a part of Madrasah education.”
Nowadays, Madrasah institutions offer an Islamic secular curriculum, and have evolved into three types:
- Traditional or Weekend Madrasah – Classes are held on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) only or on days agreed upon by the teachers and students. There is no formal curriculum, hence it is non-graded and may have multi-age groupings. The students are also likely enrolled in public schools.
- Developmental or Formal Madrasah - Offers hierarchically-structured education and sequential learning generally adjusted with the formal education system. Kindergarten, primary, and secondary education are offered.
- Integrated Madrasah – Offers the public school curriculum and Arabic literacy as well as Islamic religious subjects.
The Madrasah education program has three main objectives:
- to develop and institutionalize Madrasah education as a vital component of the national education system;
- to develop through participative consultation involving education stakeholders a framework of national policies as basis for Madrasah education; and
- to undertake appropriate advocacy initiatives in support of Madrasah education.
Today, Madaris are scattered nationwide, with the majority found in Central and Western Mindanao. It is estimated that there are between 600 and 1,000 Madaris in Mindanao with a total student population of between 60,000 and 100,000. Provinces with over 100 Madaris each are Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.
Just recently, Boransing said that Madrasah education would eventually be integrated under the country's basic education curriculum as part of the government's program of providing education for all (EFA) and in relation to UNESCO's 2015 EFA goal to encourage Muslim educators to adopt the Standard Madrasah Curriculum.
In the new Madrasah curriculum (DepEd Order No. 51, s. 2004 Standard Curriculum for Elementary Public Schools and Private Madaris), basic education curriculum (BEC) subjects are integrated with the essential Standard Madrasah Curriculum. For public schools, the five core subjects in the BEC (Filipino, Math, English, Science, Makabayan) remain while courses on Arabic language and Islamic values were added to the system. In the case of private Madaris, the study of the Qur’an, Aqeeda and Fiqh, Seerah and Hadith, and the Arabic language were added to the core BEC subjects.
- The Department of Education. "The Standard Curriculum for Madrasah Education in Elementary Public Schools and Private Madaris." DepEd.gov.ph (Accessed 14 July 2009)
- Boransing, Manaros. "Development and Institutionalization of Madrasah Education As a Component of the Philippine National System of Education (paper)." Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Budget for Madrasah education program cut." Sun Star Manila, 27 August 2007. (Accessed on 14 July 2009)
- Positive News Media (article). "DepEd: Madrasah education to integrate under basic education curriculum." PositiveNewsMedia.net. (Accessed 15 July 2009)
- Website on Muslim Mindanao for Journalists and Other Communicators. "Madrasah Educational System." MuslimMindanao.ph (Accessed 15 July 2009)
- "Strengthen Madrasah education to promote peace –Recto." Senate Press Release, 25 April 2007. Accessed 15 July 2009.
- Bagumbaran, Apipa. "Madrasah education preserves Muslim cultural heritage, says Lapus." The Mindanao Current, 04 July 2009. Accessed 15 July 2009.