A total of 1,034 Alternative Learning System (ALS) passers of the Department of Education (DepEd) from the province of Rizal joined together on Tuesday, August 2, during the ceremonial ALS Graduation at the One Arena Sports Complex in Cainta, Rizal.
With the theme "ALS Gradweyts… Isang Karangalan at Simbolo ng Bagong Pag-asa sa Magandang Kinabukasan," 961 passers of the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test for secondary level and 73 for elementary received a certificate equivalent to an elementary or a high school diploma.
Thankful for the opportunity given to her, 16 year-old Jhoanna May Estrera, a product of ALS said "Thank you sa lahat. Masayang-masaya kami sa pagkakataon na binigay sa amin." Aware of their financial constraints, Estrera dropped out from high school and opted to work as an encoder. But when she found out about ALS, she enlisted herself for the program. "Iba pa rin kapag nakapagtapos ka eh. Hindi mo maaabot ng ganun kadali ang pangarap mo kapag wala kang diploma. Kaya sa mga nakakarelate na kagaya ko na gustong makapagtapos, isa ang ALS sa mga puwedeng magbigay ng chance para makapag-aral."
Estrera is one of the 12 graduates of ALS who attended Saturday classes at STI College Ortigas-Cainta. Apart from classrooms and facilities, STI provides necessary computer units and volunteer teachers to facilitate learning sessions.
"STI is one with the Department of Education in its thrust to reach out to as many Filipino learners as possible. We will continue to support and contribute to their extended efforts to educate out-of-school-youths (OSYs) by opening our doors and sharing our resources for ALS learners," shared Connie Sablay, Executive Director for STI Foundation.
ALS is a DepEd program which aims to provide out-of-school-youths with an opportunity to complete their basic education in a non-formal learning environment. On the other hand, the A&E test allows the passer to move on to secondary school or pursue a college education.
DepEd and STI have also entered into a partnership called "Computer Laboratory on Wheels" (STI Mobile School) which aims to provide students with a foundation on computer literacy and teach them to use basic information and communications technology or ICT tools.