By Arjay de Guzman, HS 4A
In early July, a picture of a homeless boy Daniel Cabrera studying persistently under the lights outside of a fast-food chain became viral around the web. Many were inspired by Daniel’s tenacity, and when he asked what his dream is, he said that he proudly hopes to become a policeman someday. Daniel garnered attention even in the international community and received overflowing support from all over the world.
Daniel is only one of the many faces of the realities of our educational system. This school year, twenty three million Filipino students were able to enroll according to the Department of Education. In contrast, around (Number) did not finish their basic education.
The common reason why people stop schooling is due to their financial incapability. Even though they have the burning desire to be educated, the harsh reality remains to be a hindrance in their dream.
The Lasallian community was aware of this pressing issue, and that is why in 2011, the Lasallian Mission Office established the Alternative Learning System.
Popularly known as ALS, the program has opened new doors for the unprivileged to get a chance to complete their unfinished education. The learners of ALS all come from different walks of life ranging from taxi drivers, delivery boys, house helpers, out-of-school youth, and market vendors.
ALS is very different from the formal education regular students are taking. In formal schooling, students use textbooks that are teacher-facilitated. On the other hand, in the ALS program, learners use modules that are self-paced, self-instructional, and integrated. Subjects taken in school are purely academic but in ALS, learners are taught basic computational and life skills.
At the end of a curriculum, schools give students achievement tests or examinations while in ALS, learners are required to take an Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test to determine their proficiency based on the lessons given during the course of the program. Everything happens in 10 months, and the graduates receive a certified diploma from LSGH; all of which are free of charge.
Currently, the program is catering to more than 70 learners under the supervision of Ms. Cathy and Ms. Weena. The Lasallian Brothers such as Br. Mikey are also active in teaching the ALS learners. Tulong Aral Sa Kapatid (TASK) has already been partnering with ALS to volunteer in providing reinforcement classes to the ALS learners for a year. This program gives students the liberty to help the learners hand-in-hand with their ALS education. Everyone is invited to volunteer in TASK at least once in their high school lives. Interested students may inquire at the Lasallian Mission Office.
The ALS program of LSGH is a living proof of the continuous advocacy of St. John Baptist de la Salle, and the program has been a hope for many uneducated Filipinos, but there is much more to be done. ALS hopes to enhance its learners’ competence in order for them to pass the A&E Test and help them reach their dreams.
As Lasallians, it is in our DNA to be keenly aware of the situations of our time and take courses of action to address these salient issues, for the Animo Spirit is not only contained within the classrooms, hallways, and campuses. More importantly, it is expressed outside where the reality resides.
“ALS is not only an opportunity to work, but a great opportunity to love.”
–Ms. Cathy of ALS