The Asian Development Bank supported the Senior High School Support Program of the Philippines’ Department of Education. The broad reform program included curriculum development, teacher training, and one of the world’s largest tuition voucher schemes. The program also piloted a culture-based curriculum that teaches indigenous youth to manage their community's resources and cultural heritage sustainably. The pilot was implemented by the Tboli Sbu Senior High School in South Cotabato in southern Philippines.

The school offers courses in ecotourism and livelihood management, where culture-bearers and elders teach students how to weave the Tnalak, a dyed abaca cloth that is unique to the Tboli indigenous peoples. Students also learn brass casting, embroidery, and wood carving. The program attracted young mothers and out-of-school youth back to school. The curriculum of the pioneering program was guided by indigenous elders, community stakeholders, and the local government. Ateneo de Davao University also helped develop the curriculum and teacher training, in a prime example of a successful public-private partnership in education. The success of the Tboli Sbu Senior High School in implementing the culture-based curriculum is set to be replicated in other schools for indigenous peoples in other parts of the country.

Transcript

This is tnalak, a dyed abaca cloth woven by the Tboli indigenous peoples in the Philippine province of South Cotabato. 

Tnalak weaving is a significant part of Tboli life and culture.

Fostering the cultural heritage of the Tboli and other indigenous peoples communities is part of a broad reform program advanced by the Philippines' Department of Education or DepEd. 

The Asian Development Bank assisted with some of these reforms under the Senior High School Support Program.

The program included curriculum development, teacher training, and one of the world’s largest tuition voucher schemes.

The DepEd, through the Tboli Sbu Senior High School, piloted a culture-based curriculum that teaches indigenous youth to manage their community's resources and cultural heritage sustainably.

Delmo Dulay, teacher Grade 11, Tboli Sbù Senior High School: 

“Our youth is losing their cultural foundation. There seems to be a gap in their identity as a young Tboli and member of our community. Establishing this school is one way of addressing that gap.”

The school offers courses in ecotourism and livelihood management, where culture-bearers and elders teach students tnalak weaving, brass casting, embroidery, and wood carving.

Dana Daham, teacher Grade 12, Tboli Sbù Senior High School:

“We have students who while studying have started a business because they already have skills, they know loom weaving so they already have products.”

“That’s really the prime goal of the school, to teach the students to set up businesses.”

The school’s program has attracted out-of-school youth, including young mothers, to return to school.

Lorna Magantang, student Grade 12, TVL-Management, Tboli Sbù Senior High School:

“My husband said, ‘Aren’t you embarrassed, you already have a child?’ I told him having a child is not a deterrent. I really want to finish Grade 12 so I can enter college. I want to finish school so I have something to be proud of.”

Tboli Sbù’s pioneering program was guided by indigenous elders, in consultation with community stakeholders and the local government.

Ateneo de Davao University also helped develop the curriculum and teacher training, in a prime example of a successful public-private partnership in education.

After eight years of experience in the Tboli Sbù Senior High School, the DepEd will implement the program in other indigenous peoples schools.

Benjie Manuel – School Head, Tboli Sbù Senior High School:

“This kind of education must be a tool of each IP community for their self-determination. It’s our right. It’s the right of the indigenous peoples’ community.”

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