Teachers of the recently-launched TSHS at Lake Sebu, South Cotabato said that this program will surely promote global competitiveness without compromising the cultural preservation of the indigenous peoples in the long run.
The teachers perceived the program as a beneficial tool to boost the livelihood status of the Tbloli community since the TSHS offers technical-vocational tracks that are in line with the culture of the Tboli people.
“Ang diwa ng kultura namin ay naisasalin at ang kaalaman ay made-develop pa kung kaya’t ilang henerasyon man ang magdaan, ang kultura namin ay buhay pa rin. Ang kaalaman at ang kasanayan ay nagmula mismo sa kanila [mag-aaral na Tboli] upang matuto na silang makihalubilo sa mundo,” said Benji Manuel, a Tboli teacher at Tboli Senior High School (TSHS).
This project of the Department of Education (DepEd), in collaboration with Ateneo de Davao, aims to produce graduates who are equipped with entrepreneurial and management skills and are capable of managing and improving their own resources and coming up with sustainable livelihood and opportunities for the Tboli community.
Manuel said that through the program, he now sees the teachers of TSHS as carriers of the plan of the Tboli elders.
“Sa tulong nito, nakikita namin ang aming sarili bilang tagapagdala ng plano ng elders ng pamayanan ng Tboli na dalhin ang indigenous knowledge, cultural and intellectual heritage sa loob ng classroom,” Manuel added.
Ateneo de Davao President Father Joel S. Tabora, SJ said that the Tboli SHS is “the most sophisticated, anthropological, pedagogical project in the country relative to Senior High School”.
"Davao entered into this program--to be able to help the K to 12 create a program that will not make the students foreigners to their own culture, but will make them imbibe the values and the cultural traditions of the tribe even in a global age, even in an age when the Tboli also want to be able to be world-class, to be able to enjoy the advantages of globalization and modernization. The Tboli, it has to be clear, also want first and foremost to preserve their own cultural traditions and their cultural identities. This is the reason why Ateneo de Davao has been really priveleged to be part of this program," Tabora said.
Through the help of Ateneo de Davao, the program commenced through a research wherein they consulted the Tboli community if they would want a program that is appropriate not only to their culture but also to the standards of DepEd. After the research, the Tboli community gave positive feedback, which means that they are willing to have the program being proposed to them.
TSHS will be initially lodged at Lake Sebu National High School and will be catering to approximately 45 students upon the first implementation of Grade 11 this coming school year 2015-2016.
"We are developing ourselves and we are achieving our goals and aspirations but we should not forget our culture. That is our intention," Manuel said.