Feature: The Secret and Success of Pandakan PS

By Alfhadar Pajiji, Executive Assistant III, Office of the Regional Secretary

I discovered many amazing things in Sulu when I had the chance to visit my hometown Jolo last week to attend and observe the SPAAM 2014 (Sulu Provincial Athletics Association Meet). One story that struck me most is about the Pandakan Primary School in the Municipality of Panglima Estino.

Pandakan Primary has around 150 pupils. It has only 5 teachers (3 with permanent status and the other 2 are volunteer teachers) teaching multigrade up to Grade 5.

Despite the odds, during their district meets, Pandakan Primary bested the other "big" schools of Panamao District which have an average of 800 pupils and more than 20 teachers. They excelled greatly both in athletics and academics that even though it had no participant in the Grade 6 category, Pandakan Primary was still able to bag the District Over-All Championship.

I was so intrigued about the story that I told the District Supervisor Ma'am Samha to arrange a meeting with the teachers of Pandakan Primary School. Unfortunately, Ma'am Samha had instructed them to accompany the district delegation back to their district so I was not able to meet them.

According to Ma'am Samha the 3 young male teachers were hired during Mujiv Hataman's administration. Under the stewardship of the young teachers headed by "Tuan Dani", the school's TIC, Pandakan Primary's performance continue to amaze everyone in the district. One of their secrets? Special classes even on Saturdays and Sundays!

At the closing ceremony of the SPAAM 2014, I told everyone about the story of Pandakan Primary- a feat that has not happen in the history of DepEd-ARMM. I said RS Jamar Kulayan together with RG Mujiv Hataman had recently organized trips for supervisors and mayors to places like Saranggani Province, which had remarkably improved their education indicators, to learn about their experience on how best to improve education performance and indicators in the ARMM provinces. I think and said it loud that it is about time to bring them all to Sulu and learn about the Pandakan Primary experience.

Note: At the SPAAM Closing Program, Ma'am Pilar Dumalanta, my former elementary teacher whom I picked as my "Tribute to my Teacher" recipient and now Sulu Division EPS had confirmed to me that Panamao District is now back in the academics. The contestant for the Grade 5 category from Pandakan Primary got the third place at the division level.

Feature: Opportunity to grow and make a difference

By High School teachers Amina Hadjirul Jalad (Master of Arts in Education major in English Language Teaching) and Benhar Saridol Muksan (Master of Arts in Education major in Mathematics Education) who are currently on study leave at Bukidnon State University

Since becoming teachers at Pangutaran National High School in Sulu, we have embraced daily classroom interaction as an opportunity to guide and influence our students. Like their parents, we want them to realize their full potential, to become good men and women in the community and to contribute to the welfare of their family and society at large.

However, we also yearn to grow professionally, to deepen our academic knowledge and keep up with emerging trends in our subject of specialization. We are grateful to our immediate head Dr Amar Taludjog who share our yearning and actively seek opportunities for professional growth for his teachers. It is on this premise that we were endorsed for a one year study leave with pay at Bukidnon State University, Malaybalay City (Note: Amina pursued Master of Arts in Education major in English Language Teaching and Benhar pursued Master of Arts in Education major in Mathematics Education).

We are encouraged by the current ARMM reform. Finally, a group of Moro leaders is taking a strong stance against that which ails our education system and moving forward to build strong foundations for regional education that is accessible, equitable and quality-driven. Within DepEd-ARMM it is heartening to see our records being rectified and updated leading to the resolution of the decades-old non-remittance mess. What we thought were impossible then is happening now. The idealism of the current leadership is motivating us to grow professionally and there is this eagerness within us to go back as soon as possible and join the bandwagon of reform by giving our share, i.e. teaching our students better and with passion. 

We are not hindered by what we do not have. At school we may not have all the facilities and materials that we want, but we believe we can maximize whatever we have. We believe our best resource is our selves. We are doing good then, we now believe we can do better with what we have learned at the University - new knowledge and skills in our respective field of specialization.

The K to 12 curriculum brings the hope of better education. One motivation for pursuing our specialization is for our school to be able to offer senior high school program in our municipality. Master's degree in particular specialization is a teacher requirement under this program. We sacrifice to be away from our families and school for a year but we know the return will be greater especially in positioning our school to be the catalyst of change in our area. Pangutaran is an island municipality floating on Sulu Sea. If we can make senior high school available, many of our youth will be able to complete basic education right in their own community. The availability of this senior high in our community will be a big boast to financially-constrained parents.

We are thankful to all who have made this scholarship possible for us as we are grateful to Allah for opportunity to grow, to become, to be better, not only for ourselves, but also for others and for our community.


"Matuwid na pamamahala tungo sa ARMM sa masagana't mapayapa"


English - "Good governance for a progressive and peaceful ARMM."

Sinama - "Hap pamarinta tudju ARMM na sambu maka salamat"

Bahasa Sug - "Dan mabuntul tudju pa ARMM masambu iban mahatul"

Meranaw - "Mathitu a kandatu sa ARMM ko katagompiya go kalilintad"