The Mobile Cultural School for the indigenous youth in the Philippines


        The Philippines is home to 14-17 million indigenous people who belong to an estimate of 110 ethno-linguistic groups and are bearers and practitioners of intangible cultural heritage. These intangible cultural heritage range from oral traditions such as languages and expressions; traditional craftsmanship; social practices, rituals and festive events; and knowledge systems and practices.

           Despite the diversity of the cultural heritage of the indigenous people (IPs) in the Philippines, they belong to the most marginalized and vulnerable sectors in society. Not only are they stricken with poverty, but health services and access to education are not accorded to them. Some indigenous communities suffer from displacement and are forced to leave their homes due to political and/or military conflicts. As an implication of poverty and a lack of education, the cultural heritage of some indigenous communities have also been exploited by tourism.

            Out-migration has also been a trend among the youth from indigenous communities who want to fare better in life. Some indigenous youth leave their communities and move to bigger cities to look for jobs that would give them immediate income. Another effect of the challenges that indigenous communities face is how young people view their tradition as backward and would rather have a higher regard for the ‘modern life.’ Some youth are torn between being formally educated in schools or practicing their traditions at home. There is a tendency for young people to create a dichotomy between education which for them is equivalent to modernity and a better life while their cultural heritage as an epitome of backwardness and poverty.


empowering the skills and capacities of indigenous youth for inclusive development

         The project will be addressing the challenges that the indigenous youth are experiencing. The mobile cultural school will build the capacities of the indigenous youth in appreciating the value of their cultural heritage; improve their literacy skills through bilingual learning modules using their mother-tongues and the national language in the Philippines (Filipino) and educate them on how their creative industries derived from their cultural heritage practices and traditions can contribute to the inclusive development of their communities.


The learning program

The learning program of the mobile cultural school will follow culturally-appropriate modules that will be taught for one week in each community. The modules will have the following courses:

Course 1: Literacy and Mother-tongue Based Bilingual Education

Promotion of the use and appreciation of indigenous languages as a means to preserve the diverse languages of the indigenous community


Course 2: Safeguarding Cultural Heritage

Capacity-building for the youth to realize the intrinsic values of their cultural heritage through the heritage transmission of the culture bearers in their communities


Course 3: Creative Industries for Sustainable Community Development

Facilitation of workshops on social entrepreneurship to teach the community on how they can make a living from crafts, design, art, music and performing arts