Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) is working closely with the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division of Sarangani and Indigenous People (IP) communities in the province to provide mobile literacy applications for Tagakaulo and Tboli learners in Sarangani province.
Recently, the elders and culture bearers of the two IP communities gathered to validate the stories, language, numbers, letters, colors, and illustrations put together by the writers and content creators which will be converted to digital assets for the literacy apps.
“This is to ensure that the use of the Tboli and Tagakaulo cultural elements and language is accurate and culturally appropriate,” said Stephanie Orlino, head of Stakeholders Management at PLDT and Smart.
Biya Elizabeth Bitco of the Tagakaulo tribe said that the validation by the elders of all materials to be used for the app is necessary and important to ensure that information passed on to the next generation is accurate and authentic.
“This process allows us to achieve our common goal of ensuring that learning materials used are really reflective of the Tagakaulo’s heritage before it will be consumed by the community, especially by our young learners,” she said.
Wata-wanan IP School head Christopher Tanedo, who also serves as IPEd coordinator in West Maitum, said that they tweaked some content to fit its young audience.
“Some content were slightly changed, especially when it promotes violence. We understand that our tribes’ original stories have a level of violence in them, so we made it more child-friendly but the thought of the story remains,” he explained.
Orlino assured that the competencies in developing the learning materials are aligned with the DepED and the indigenization of the content is approved by the Provincial Tribal Council and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Smart is pushing the development of tribe-centric learning apps in different languages because studies show that the managed use of digital tools can boost the literacy of young students and heighten their interest in learning.