Project Focus: Alternative Learning System

Close to Tanauan, under a small metal roof, a volunteer gives an English lesson to ten little girls eager to learn. They are enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) a government initiative for kids who dropped out of school or who just can’t attend regular classes.

Right next to this rural classroom is the Tanauan dumpsite. Braving the strong smell and the numerous flies that surrounds them, a dozen of young boys are waiting for the garbage truck. The plastics they will find in the piles of trash will reward them with some pesos to share with the rest of their family. Because of this, it is harder to get the boys involved into the ALS. They usually come for the beginning of the lesson, and leave as soon as they hear the garbage truck coming.

As a result, this part of the ALS program concentrates mostly on girl students. Along with Maam Carol, the head chief of the ALS program in Tanauan, the volunteers design a schedule in the hope that it will arouse the kids’ interest and make them realize the importance of education. On that day, Chloe taught a mix of team building activities and English lessons. She said she found it hard at the beginning to find activities for the different subjects because of the age and skills difference of the pupils. The fact that they have almost no school supplies also requires a lot of creativity.

Every year, the students who are ready can attend an exam in order to access the following grade. This means that if they have the opportunity to go back to school after that, they will be ready to enter a regular class. Maam Carol said she was amazed by the progress that could be made with the help of the volunteers. Many students succeed every year in an environment where no one thought it could give significant results.

An ALS program is also offered in a regular school environment in Tanauan. The volunteers go to the dumpsite two days a week, and to the school in Tanauan three days a week. Unlike the dumpsite ALS program, the class in Tanauan in mostly attended by teenage boys who dropped out of school for different reasons. This part of the program is more structured since it is in an actual classroom. There are English and Math lessons, group activities, etc. This year, two students graduated from high school with the ALS program!

Thanks to ALS, these kids will receive education in order to provide themselves and their future family a better life here in the Philippines.

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This article was taken from Cindy Todd’s Live in Bliss Blog.
Cindy recently participated as a Media Intern at Volunteer for the Visayans.

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