Oblate Education Ministry envisions to promote the Oblate character and mission in the pursuit of excellence in education in a context of poverty, violence and pluralism of culture, faiths and ideologies.
To develop the Oblate spirit (identity & mission) among co-workers, students and alumni in the Oblate educational institutions;
To develop the full and unique potentials of all those who participate in Oblate education;
To develop the attitudes & practices of mutual understanding, respect, justice, preference for the poor, peace and concern for the environment among peoples of diverse cultures, faiths, ideologies.
The OMI involvement in the Education Ministry was a concrete response to an urgent need of the Empire Province of Cotabato (still undivided) and the Province of Sulu. As migrants and their families from Luzon and the Visayas came to the newly established settlements in the plains of Cotabato, the absence of formal schooling was deeply felt. At that time there was only one high school in the entire province of Cotabato.
The Oblate pioneers under the leadership of Fr. Gerard Mongeau, the first Superior of the Oblates, readily recognized the need to get involved in formal education believing that this work was within the OMI charism. Besides, Fr. Mongeau had a dream: an educated populace imbued with Christian values is the best way to alleviate the poverty and ignorance of the people.
The first Catholic high school, the Notre Dame of Midsayap, was established in June 1941 but closed in December 1941 because of the declaration of World War II.
After the war, Notre Dame (the name adopted for all the schools to be established) schools were established one after the other starting in July 1945, barely a month after the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese.
As new settlements opened, the missionary approach that combined "parochial work and formal high school education" began to develop rapidly with the Oblates playing a major role in each.
As more schools were opened, the Oblates felt the need to invite co-workersto run the schools so that they could pay more attention to the expanding pastoral work as new towns were opened for settlements. A number of congregations of Sisters and Brothers responded and took over the administration of some schools.
Notre Dame University Chapel, Cotabato City
With the establishment of Notre Dame high schools in practically the major settlements, there arose the community's need for higher education. So in 1948, as students began to graduate from high school, the Notre Dame Colleges of Cotabato opened as the first institution of higher learning in the Empire Province of Cotabato. Soon after, other colleges were also established in major town centers.
Two colleges, the Notre Dame University and the Notre Dame of Marbel University, (the latter is now run by the Marist Brothers), continued to grow by leaps and bounds and have acquired university status. They have been granted varying levels of accredited status by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) in recognition of the quality education which they offer and for which the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) allows degrees of autonomy (academic and curricular deregulation).
The Oblate schools have served and still continue to serve the people by providing an integral education yet with a specific touch by being Catholic and sharing the same vision and mission of the Oblates. The Notre Dame schools are privileged venues of promoting the formation of the whole person. They aim to transmit values for LIVING, educate in faith and form individuals who are responsible and able to relate their study to real life situations.
All Oblate-run Notre Dame schools strive not only to provide academic instruction but also excel in Community Extension Services. The school-based community extension services provide the students, faculty and staff direct exposure and involvement in the community outreach activities of the schools.
The greater number of professionals both in the public and private sectors are graduates of the Notre Dame System. They are everywhere in the community and also abroad. The contribution of the Notre Dame schools, colleges, and universities in the Cotabato Region and Sulu, is well recognized. No doubt, Notre Dame education, especially higher education continues to open wider and greater opportunities to the vast majority of the people of Southern Philippines, who otherwise, would have no access to quality tertiary education. Without the Notre Dame colleges, quality education opportunities, limited as they are in the country, would truly become privileges of the few wealthy citizens who can afford to send their children to institutions in the big cities of the country.
CALOOCAN CITY: Notre Dame of Greater Manila http://www.ndgm.edu.ph
12th Avenue, Grace Park, 1400 Caloocan City Foundation: 1953
COTABATO CITY: Notre Dame University http://www.ndu.edu.ph/
Notre Dame Avenue, 9600 Cotabato City Foundation: 1958
NINOY AQUINO, SULTAN KUDARAT Notre Dame of Kulaman
Kulaman, Sultan Kudarat Established: 1985
MIDSAYAP: Notre Dame of Midsayap College
9410 Midsayap, Cotabato, Philippines
Archdiocese: Cotabato Foundation: 1939
JOLO: Notre Dame of Jolo College
9400 Jolo, Sulu, Philippines Foundation: 1954