The School of Living Traditions (SLT)


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Selected in 2021 on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

© National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippines, 2020

In 1995, the Sub-commission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) – the lead agency mandated to preserve, promote and develop Philippine culture and the arts – affirmed the need to safeguard traditional knowledge and practices from rapid cultural devaluation brought about by media, tourism, formal education and religion. This paved the way for the creation of The School of Living Traditions (SLT) programme, involving informal, community-managed learning centres where practitioners can transmit their communities’ knowledge, intangible cultural heritage, skills and values to younger generations. The identification of priorities for safeguarding was led by elders, leaders and other members of communities through a series of consultations. In the process, the NCCA provided capacity-building assistance for the mobilization of logistics and other resources needed to establish the learning centres. The SLT programme aims to develop, implement and evaluate community-based measures to safeguard vital traditional cultural knowledge and practices from the potential negative effects of modernization. In 2015, the NCCA initiated the enhancement of the SLT programme. This entails the implementation of site-specific five-year community development programmes to support the transmission and viability of intangible cultural heritage in partnership with local communities and organizations.