With a training program on weaving, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Science and Technology through its Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) are breathing new life into a local tradition and at the same time providing a source of income to families.
TESDA Director General Irene Isaac announced that the agency together with PTRI will start developing the curriculum for a training program for the handloom weaving industry. She said the PTRI approached TESDA and proposed for a collaborative undertaking to develop competency standards for the handloom weaving industry.
“Through the project, competency standards for the handloom weaving industry will be developed. These will be used to enhance and upgrade the skills of handloom weavers,” Isaac said.
A Memorandum of Agreement between TESDA and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently signed to implement the said project.
Aside from developing a curriculum on weaving, Isaac said that TESDA will also review and update existing training courses, outlines and training materials to align them with the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF).
PQF is a system for the recognition of qualifications based on standards of knowledge, skills and values acquired in different ways and methods by learners and workers in the country.
“With the training program we are developing, we aim to breathe fresh life into the weaving industry, seen as a sunset industry,” Isaac said.vMore and more people learning the craft will also create a demand for local textiles, empowering its producers, she added.
“It’s also about empowering artisans. Weavers are not mere factory workers, they are artists doing the skill they know by heart from their indigenous communities,” Isaac said.
“Promoting the arts and crafts of cultural communities and finding potential consumers for these in the local and international markets could help the communities earn a steady income from what they do best,” the TESDA chief added.
The TESDA-DOST partnership came in the heels of calls by Senator Loren Legarda, a known advocate of Filipino woven products, to have a program wherein indigenous skills can be offered as courses through technical vocational training.
Legarda, who heads the Senate committee on cultural communities, said that this kind of program will preserve cultural heritage and will provide indigenous peoples better employment and livelihood opportunities.
The senator urged the development of traditional skills like hand weaving, embroidery, tabungaw-making, basket-weaving, pottery, and likewise present the economic opportunities that can be derived from acquiring or improving on such skills. PNA