“If there’s a will, there’s a way” – so the old adage goes.

And so it goes to all the educators who believe that education can be accessible, even to the poorest of the poor and even to those who thought that time and age have grabbed their opportunity to learn and acquire new knowledge.

The Department of Education (DepEd), under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program, responded and acted on the problem of the increasing number of out-of-school-youth (OSY) thru a free education program intended for those who cannot afford formal schooling.

Encompassing both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills, ALS became a viable alternative to the existing formal education.

In Naga City, 21 ALS learning groups were organized wherein 62 per cent of the completers were qualified to take the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) test.

The groups also exceeded the target barangays where they organized learning groups for literacy cum livelihood. Twelve (12) barangays have mobile classes where 80 per cent of the learners were raised to the next literacy level.

A&E test aims to offer learners two learning achievements, both on the elementary and secondary level, furthermore, a certification of learning to OSY and adults whose age range from 15 and up and are unable to avail of the formal school system. This is also applicable to those who have dropped out of formal elementary or secondary education.

Felomina L. Cecilio, Education Program Specialist 1 from the Naga City Division, one of the implementers of the ALS here, has attributed the program’s success to the harmonious relationship between the educators and their students.

“The willingness on both parties to help each other and the dedication on the part of the ALS implementers, have greatly aided in the success of this program,” observed Cecilio.

Cecilio, was cited as ALS Most Outstanding Education Supervisor1 for 2010, an annual search for the most outstanding alternative learning system (ALS) implementers, most functional community learning system (CLC) and most outstanding education supervisor (in line with DepEd Regional Memorandum No. 116, s 2009).

Recolito C. Cantre, also from DepEd Naga City Division, was awarded as 1st runner up.

Included in the list of awardees as 2009 Outstanding District ALS Coordinators were Leticia Avengoza (Most Outstanding District ALS Coordinator for Camarines Sur, Rita Aquino, 1st runner up (Tabaco City); Melita Carranceja, 2nd runner up (Camarines Norte); and Ma. Fina Pastor, 3rd runner up (Albay).

Other recipients of the 2009 awards were Esmeralda Bautista (Sorsogon City), Most Outstanding Mobile Teacher; Nelmie C. Potot (Masbate Province), Most Outstanding Basic Literacy Facilitator ; Charito Dometita (Sorsogon Province), Most Outstanding Instructional Manager and the Hall of Fame Awardee as Most Functional Community Learning Center (CLC) goes to Barangay Gumaus, Paracale, Camarines Norte.

The sky-rocketing cost of education in the country has severely caused the displacement of many aspiring students and has resulted to an increase of OSY. Made worst by poverty, the number kept on adding up. Yet with the implementation of the alternative learning system, there is certainly no reason why others cannot afford learning.

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