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Impact of Western Education on Ifugao

Impact of Western Education on Ifugao



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Published by Bert M Drona
Writer discusses some major implications western education had, and continues to have,upon the Antipolo/Amduntug Ifugao
of the Philippines, and identifies several
avenues the Ifugao have taken to preserve
their cultural identity in the midst of such powerful influences.
Writer discusses some major implications western education had, and continues to have,upon the Antipolo/Amduntug Ifugao
of the Philippines, and identifies several
avenues the Ifugao have taken to preserve
their cultural identity in the midst of such powerful influences.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Bert M Drona on Oct 04, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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n this paper I will consider some of the major implications westerneducation had, and continues to have,upon the Antipolo/Amduntug Ifugaoof the Philippines, and identify severalavenues the Ifugao have taken to pre-serve their cultural identity in themidst of such powerful influences. Toaccomplish this I will first look at theeducational philosophies of the twomajor international educationalplayers in the history of the Philip-pines, the Spanish and the American.I will follow this by identifying how thetwo educational systems influencetraditional Ifugao values.
The Antipolo/Amduntug Ifugao,numbering around 3,200, make theirhome in the Kiangan municipality of Ifugao Province, Central Luzon, Philip-pines. They are located on the southwestern border of Ifugao. The AntipoloIfugao speak the Keley-i Kallahan dia-lect while the Amduntug Ifugao speak Yattuka, both of which are included inKallahan, a subfamily of Ifugao, abranch of the Malayopolynesian lan-guages (McFarland 1980:76). Thesepeople, along with other groups of Ifu-gao, are known for creating the eighthwonder of the world—the Ifugao riceterraces. If stretched out in a linethese “stairsteps to the sky” wouldspan approximately 20,000 miles.They also depict the race that devel-oped centuries ago and maintainsthem currently today: industrious,ingenious, persistent, strong, andindependent.
 National Linkages
One should not view tribal socie-ties in isolation from the influences of urban society (Steffen 1993). Whilegeographical distances may existbetween some tribal societies andurban societies, the latter often haveplans for, and exert a powerful holdupon the former. For example, urban-ites provide public education for tri-bals (often with teachers from outsidethe tribal dialect). The urbanites ask for land declarations so they canissue land titles, and in some cases,collect taxes. Tribals institute commu-nity councils to interact with thenational government. They go to townto purchase necessities and to selltheir goods. As for education, tribalfamilies often find themselves sendingtheir children to cities for higher edu-cation. In the religious realm, majorreligions, such as, Catholicism orIslam, etc.., continue to have somesuccess with tribals, if not directly inthe geographical areas, then through
their children sent to them for educa-tion in the cities. Wise Christian work-ers do not minimize the preexistinglinkages between the urban, peasant,and tribal societies.
 International Linkages
Wolf (1982), who takes a Marxistdiachronic view of history, argues thatno society stands totally independentfrom any other society. He contentsthat the world is totally integratedwith each specific part affected tosome extent by the whole. The basiccause for these global linkages,argues Wolf, is economics, that is, thesystem of how goods are produced,consumed, dispersed, and so forth. Associeties are inevitably broughttogether through economics andmodes of production, conflict results,creating continual change to all socie-ties involved. Wolf views the conflictinduced changes as positive.The Philippines has experiencedthe control of three foreign powers:the Spanish, the American twice, andthe Japanese. The Spanish and Amer-icans brought with them their educa-tional systems which has had signifi-cant influence on all Filipinos,including the Ifugao highlanders. TheAntipolo/Amduntug Ifugao cannot be
by Tom Steffen
International Journal of Frontier Missions Vol. 15:2, Apr.-June 1998
Global Implications of WesternEducation on the Antipolo/AmduntugIfugao
One should resist the temptation to view tribal societies in isolation from the influences of Westernculture. This article shows the tremendous influence Western society has had on tribalcultures to the degree that some have become peasant societies. What and how they are affected alsoinfluences the way tribal and peasant peoples perceive Christianity.
International Journal of Frontier Missions
Global Implications of Western Education
Focusing on the Filipinos’response to Spanish educationSchwartz also divides the educationalhistory of the Philippines into threephases, but with different timeframes: 1) Filipinos take teachingroles in mission schools and starttheir own private schools following theSpanish pattern (1590-1640), 2) edu-cation extended throughout theislands but Filipino mission schoolsand attendance remained virtually thesame (1640-1840), and 3) Filipinosattended their own private and secon-dary school along with a numberattending the University of SantaThomas. Still others sought degrees inEurope (1841-1896).Schwartz’s insightful observationraises two contrasting characteristicsof the Filipino: the ability to imitateand the love for independence. InSchwartz’s first phase Filipinos begantheir own private schools patternedafter the Spanish counterparts. Fili-pino priests who were not allowed toestablish their own parishes becauseof the type of blood that flowed intheir veins often pioneered theseschools. Some may have joined themovement just to make a living.Whether their motives were religiousor economic, the Spanish schoolserved as a model for the Filipinoschools.By the time of Schwartz’s thirdphase, the independence characteris-tic became evident. The Filipinos hadtheir own primary and secondaryschools called
(still pat-terned after the Spanish model) whichqualified their graduates for entry intothe Spanish controlled universities.But the Filipino tired of Spanishracism. Alzona (1932:168) was con-vinced the objective of Spanish educa-tion was to make Filipinos “the pas-sive, servile and blind servants of thefriars.” So was Jose Rizal, a renownnational hero, who authored two keybooks calling for the overthrow of theSpanish—these would eventually costhim his life.Other factors helped bring abouta change of climate to Philippine edu-cation. One was the opening of theSuez Canal which brought many morevisitors and trade to the Philippines. Amiddle-class eventually developed,seeking indigenous education.Another factor was the influence of European Liberalism on Spain whichresulted in the legal foundation forprimary education for every Filipino.Even so, schooling for Filipinos afterthe Educational Decree of 1863remained rooted in the propagation of Spanish values. This is evident in oneway through the teaching style thatconsisted basically of the memoriza-tion of religious materials in contrastto the development of analytical orlanguage skills (Hunt and McHale1965:64).The first American census (1903)revealed that only around 20 percentof the adult population claimed anyexposure to formal education orfluency in the Spanish language(Smith and Cheung 1981:29-30). Nev-ertheless, Spanish education helped asmall but influential group of Filipi-nos, formerly controlled by fatalism,to see that the physical world couldbe changed. They learned that naturewas not capricious; that people andGod were all a part of a rational sys-tem; that answers to peoples prob-lems could be found in the West(Hunt and McHale 1965:65). This setthe stage for the Filipinos’ next colo-nial master.
 American Influences
While the Spanish used the swordand the Bible to colonize their newsubjects the Americans used Kragrifles and American textbooks. Afterthe Americans defeated the Spanishand took control of the Philippines acall went out for American teachers.understood adequately apart from anunderstanding of the educationalinfluences brought to the Philippinesfrom the distant shores of Spain andAmerica. In this system educationand economics are closely connected,Wolfs premise of international link-ages becomes obvious. Just as thereare national linkages that affect tribalpeoples, so there are internationallinkages.
Spanish Influences
In 1565, the Spanish discoveredthe Philippines. With the sword in onehand and a Bible in the other theybegan to systematically conquer theislands. Along with the conquest camea great influx of Spanish citizens. Asmore and more Spanish moved to theconquered Philippines it became nec-essary for the Spanish government toset up schools to educate their ownchildren, from primary to the univer-sity level. In that the Spanish did notseparate church and state, educationincluded vigorous instruction in theCatholic religion.But the Spanish were not onlyinterested in educating their own, sothey instituted separate schools toeducate the Filipinos. The purpose of the Catechism Schools was not to pro-vide Filipinos an avenue of upwardsocial mobility, but rather dissemi-nate “colonial-Hispanic-Catholic” val-ues.Alzona (1932) divides the educa-tional history of the Philippines underSpanish rule into three periods: 1)founding the schools (1565-1768), 2)progress of education (1768-1863),and 3) the educational decree andafter (1863-1898). Schwartz (1971)believes this breakdown correctlyemphasizes the educational policiesand practices of Spanish colonialismbut fails to take into considerationhow the Filipinos used education fortheir own purposes.
Vol 15:2 Apr.-June 1998
Tom Steffen
According to the Philippine IslandsBoard this was “because of theabsence of an educational system inthe Islands from which teachers couldbe procured” (1925:17) to set up anation-wide public school system inthe Philippines patterned after that of the United States. By1901, American teach-ers began arriving in thePhilippines armed withwestern values. One of these teachers, Roy Bar-ton (1969a; 1969b),taught and conductedsignificant anthropologi-cal fieldwork among theKiangan Ifugao. Beforethe teachers arrived,however, the Americanmilitary staffed andorganized the first ele-mentary schools in1898 (Gates 1973).The Americans set out to pacifythe Filipino by providing every Filipinochild a free elementary education. Theimported curriculum promised everyFilipino child the opportunity to learnto read, prefer democracy, work hard(long fingernails had to go as factoriesneeded workers), seek self-improvement, have a common lan-guage, grasp scientific thought, moveup the social ladder, and, be preparedto eventually govern themselves.The Philippine Island Boardargued: “That every child should havean elementary schooling is the ideal oall modern public education”(1925:33). So vigorous were the Amer-ican’s activities that by 1918 “virtuallyall of the colony’s 800 municipalitieshad at least an elementary schooland, even more remarkably, one infour of the more than 16,000 barrioshad some kind of school in operation”(Smith and Cheung 1981:30). Eventhe Catholic Church was influencedby the Protestant work ethic inherentwithin the American school system.Unlike the Spanish, the Ameri-cans separated church and state(excluding the Protestant work ethic),focusing on the secular. The reasongiven for the de-emphasis of religiousinstruction in the schools by the Phi-lippine Island Board (1925:99) wasthat around a hundred years of exper-imentation with this issue in theAmerican public school systemresulted only in “religious dissensionsand antagonisms,” therefore, religiousinstruction should fall under the func-tion of the Church and family. Never-theless, the Americans did allow relig-ious instruction to be taught in theschools to meet the needs of a deeplyreligious society.In that the Americans only knewEnglish, and the textbooks were inEnglish, English soon became the lan-guage medium in a nation of over ahundred languages. It was notuncommon for teachers to penalizestudents for using their own languageat school. Filipinos found themselvesagain required to learn the languageof their colonial masters if theywished to be involved in commerce orwith the government. While the Amer-icans included Spanish in the curricu-lum it was seldom taught.As for language ability, the Philip-pine Islands Board (1925:45) felt thechildren were not learning Englishsufficiently to carry over into theiradult lives. They blamed this not onthe teachers, but lack of time spent bythe children in school. They alsocalled for textbooks that would reflectFilipino culture rather than Americanculture.One of the goals of the American administra-tion was to develop a coreof Filipino teachers toreplace the Americanteachers. The training of these Filipinos, however,was all too often not thatthorough. The PhilippineIslands Board providedsome statistics on theAmerican/Filipinoteacher ratio after twentyyears of effort and theinfluence:
...the crux of the whole spokenEnglish problem lies in the oralspeech of the Filipino teachers. Of the 27,305 teachers in the teach-ing personnel 26,980 are Filipi-nos. The influence on the spokenEnglish of the Islands of the 325American teachers who are now inthe schools is practically nil(1925:154).
Funding for the massive project of free elementary education for all Fili-pino children could not be raisedentirely from the Insular Government.While the Philippine governmentfavored the education plan, levyingsome education tax, the majority of the funds came from the UnitedStates.The Americans took schooling far-ther down several roads the Spanishdid not traverse. Believing that the“wealth of the Archipelago is agricul-ture,” they instituted agriculturalschools, e.g., the Central Luzon Agri-cultural School at Munoz. Theseschools took the emphasis on garden-ing in the elementary schools anotherstep—farming. The agriculturalschools were to be independent of other schools in the area, located infarming areas, and accept only stu-
Spanish education helped a smallbut influential group of Filipinos,formerly controlled by fatalism, to seethat the physical world could bechanged. They learned that nature wasnot capricious; that people and Godwere all a part of a rational system; andthat answers to peoples problemscould be found in the West.

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