VALENZUELA CITY once again proved its high quality stance on education upon bagging the highest passing rate in the Alternative Learning System’s (ALS) mandatory Accreditation and Equivalency (A and E) Test in the National Capital Region (NCR) held in October 2011.
The 385 students who recently graduated from the ALS program of 2011 comprise the diligent batch of learners who garnered a passing rate of 40.80%, a 66% leap from last year’s 26.90%. This is the highest passing rate that Valenzuela has achieved so far, since its implementation.
The ALS A&E Test offers the successful test takers certification of learning achievements at two levels – Elementary and Secondary – that is comparable to the formal school system. The ALS A&E Tests in both levels are standardized paper and pencil-based tests with composition writing and multiple-choice questions to assess learning competencies on the five learning strands of the ALS Curriculum: 1) communication skills; 2) critical thinking and problem solving; 3) sustainable use of resources/productivity; 4) development of self and a sense of community; and 5) expanding one’s world vision.
Test passers of either level get a certificate which bears the signature of the Secretary of the Department of Education. This allows them to be part of the mainstream educational system of the country. Secondary level passers are afforded with the opportunity to enroll at post-secondary learning at a recognized institution offering either technical/vocational knowledge or two- to five-year course. Passers would also gain access to MFI and TESDA skills training programs and acquire eligibility for government employment positions.
City Mayor WIN Gatchalian is currently carrying out well-planned strategies to overhaul the ALS, in coherence with the city-wide implementation of the “WIN Ang Edukasyon Program.” The professionalization of quality Instructional Managers (IMs) who are hired on a full time basis for them to focus well on their job and the enhancement of existing training facilities are the focal points of such upgrade.
Professionalizing ALS connote a more rigorous hiring process for IMs, which is patterned to DepEd’s hiring procedures. Provision of better salary is being paid attention to by the local government to keep competent educators as well. Mayor WIN believes that, “We could only demand 100% ALS passing rate if the IM’s are well-compensated.” The IMs in the city receive Php 10,000 monthly.
Expected to rise soon in Barangay Parada is a four-storey ALS Center which will also house computer laboratories with an initial number of 150 branded up-to-date computer units. The integration of Information Technology classes for the ALS learners shall provide call center training to those who might be interested to pursue jobs in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Companies.
Aside from the expected objective of pursuing a college degree, ALS graduates are also encouraged by the city government to take added skills training on information technology and communication to become part of the lucrative BPO industry in the future.
Mayor WIN views ALS as a poverty-reduction tool. “It would definitely shift the number of out-of-school youth into a productive workforce that would help our economy progress,” he shared.
Recent reports from National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) projects that 3.15 million direct and indirect jobs and taxes in the amount of $6 billion every year will be generated through the BPO industry, which is expected to boost soon by 15%.
One success story that was shared during graduation ceremony held recently was that of Hershey Mae Sillona’s, who was able to catch up with her contemporaries and pursue Medical Technology course in college because of ALS. She shared on her speech, “The motivation to reach our ambition in life should start from within. Let us not think of poverty as an excuse not to get our dreams.” After obtaining her license as a medical technologist, Sillona pursued further studies to become a doctor at UP Manila – College of Medicine where she is currently a sophomore student.
The top students who pulled up the standard score of the entire city were awarded with honors during ALS graduation. For elementary, Mary Jane M. Avila of Barangay Maysan, bagged the sole accolade. For High School, first place went to Julio Bahia, Jr. of Barangay Marulas, the second place was hooked by Vivienne S. Defelix of Barangay Canumay East and Hazel Grace S. Ictus of Barangay Polo, and the third place was awarded to Nico A. Eñola of Barangay Mapulang Lupa.