Tboli Sbu Senior High School celebrates 6th founding anniversary

 Tboli Sbu Senior High School celebrates 6th founding anniversary

With the use of a blended format, the Tboli Sbu Senior High School (TSSHS) celebrated its 6th anniversary on May 19, 2021 at Lamdalag, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. The special guests joined through the Zoom video conference while teachers, headed by Benjie Manuel, and community elders, were on a limited face-to-face scheme.

The school known as the first IP (indigenous people) Senior High School in the Philippines has remained the only stand-alone IP Senior High School in the SOCCSKSARGEN region.

“I hope through Tboli Sbu SHS the indigenous people will contribute to the growth of the Philippines. The indigenous knowledge, culture and other things that the IPs put importance, which are acknowledged by the majority, are enough contributions to our society," former Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary, Br. Armin Luistro FSC, said in a video conference.

Fr. Joel Tabora, president of the Ateneo de Davao University, Maria Lourie Victor of the Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO), and SDS Ruth L. Estacio, CESO VI, were also present at the video conference to show their support for the school.

“As a public secondary school, Tboli Sbu Senior High School does not only produce quality graduates. It also produces graduates who are rooted in Indigenous Learning Systems (ILS) through the inclusion of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs) to its curriculum. The DepEd has championed the preservation, promotion, protection and practice of Tboli arts and culture in response to the Indigenous Peoples Educations (IPEd). Our learners are not just globally competitive, but deeply rooted to their ancestral culture no matter where they are in the world,” said school teacher Michael Angelo Yambok, a cultural worker.

Based on the school's summary of enrollment, there were already 139 learners who were able to finish Grade 12 in the past three school years (SY 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020).

“Tboli Sbu Senior High School is one of the education initiatives of the Department of Education in actualizing its intention to provide education that is culturally-appropriate, culturally-responsive and culturally-relevant to the IP learners,” said Joven Ryan Malida, the Education Program Supervisor and Regional IPED Focal Person of DepEd Region 12.

The TSSHS, a pioneering indigenous peoples’ public school, established in 2015, is the first school of its kind to develop and offer a technical-vocational-livelihood program that is grounded on the culture of the community it serves. The school was conceptualized specifically for Tboli youth, and was one of the few early implementers of the Philippines’ senior high school program.

Guided by community research and participatory design processes, the school was developed in close collaboration with community elders and other stakeholders, including the local government unit of Lake Sebu. The DepEd, the indigenous community, and Ateneo de Davao University worked together in developing the curriculum, training and mentoring teachers.

The TSSHS offers Sustainable Community Resource Management (SCRM) course under the Technical-Vocational Track, with two specializations such as the SCRM – Livelihood Management and SCRM – Ecotourism.

In the Livelihood Management program, students are taught the skills of Tnalak weaving, loom weaving and embroidery, brass casting, woodcarving and sustainable crop production with entrepreneurial and management skills.

Students under the Ecotourism program are taught, on the other hand, environmental conservation vis-a-vis sustainable tourism management and practices. These programs were conceptualized based on community resources, cultural heritage and aspirations.

Meanwhile, Community Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices (IKSP) holders are also tapped to engage in harnessing and passing down these cultural skills and knowledge to the young Tboli students. In short, Tboli cultural masters are teaching in TSSHS.

DepEd 12 is trying to replicate this template in other Indigenous Cultural Communities or ICCs in the region.

“We consider this as a successful education program that we think of replicating its template of a stand-alone IP Senior High School in other indigenous cultural communities in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region,” said Malida.



Originally posted on the Philippine Information Agency website, written by Genory Vanz Alfasain (a.k.a. Yadu Karu)