its finally out. the results of the equivalency test for als academic year 2012 - 2013 came out this march 2013. from the 63 dlsu als enrollees, only 33 students were deemed eligible to take the said examinations and from this number 15 als learners passed with flying colors. this means that the 14 students are now certified to have fulfilled all requirements of the secondary education and can be extended the opportunity to take either vocational courses or college. the remaining student can now take secondary education in any public school or still opt to take als secondary level.
using the learnings from the als batch 1 activities, the dlsu als project will be enhancing its procedures and processes to increase the probability of als learners passing the equivalency test. this include the hiring of a fulltime als specialist/facilitator who will be in-charge of providing sessions to the students, extending the number of school days to accomodate more sessions designed to inculcate the rudiments of learning and improvement of facilities to stimulate learning.
based on the drop in enrollees from january to march of this year, 77 students have signified to join als batch 2 at the center this april 2013. cosca in partnership with the brgy 704 manila council will also take on 26 als students from their area. we are also planning to take on street families/dwellers (adults and children) to be part of the project.
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the alternative learning system project being implemented by the center for social concern and action and the department of education through the pablo gomez public school conducted various activites for its students last dec 2012. these included the following: christmas lantern making; christmas carolling within the campus of the university; holding of a christmas party; and the distribution of xmas items to the street families along the main thoroughfares of manila.
a total of 40 students also under took the equivalency test during this period. the months of nov and dec were utilized as review sessions. in addition, the lasallian brothers/aspirants provided recollections to the test takers in the hope that they become not only mentally prepared but also spiritually ready for the examinations.
plans for jan 2013 include the following: continued self enhancement/development workshop; skills development training; and basic computer skills.
Students from the alternative learning system conducted by the center for social concern and action in partnership with the department of education provided relief items to street families in district 5, manila. cosca allocated several family relief packs to be distributed to selected street families along paraiso ng maynila and roxas boulevard. The street families were also affected by the recent floodings brought about by the southwest monsoons (habagat). The relief items that were distributed included the following: rice, canned goods, clothing, beddings and potable water. This effort is part of a social formation package for the als students designed by the project community organizer. Aside from the educational module prescribed by the department of education, cosca has integrated several activities designed to encourage them to help other people in need. A feature that further distinguished a lasallian from the rest of the students. this activity was preceeded by an environmental activity also attended by the als students which was held last aug 2012 at nuvali, santa rosa, laguna. Als is short for the alternative learning system, an educational program by the department of education designed to provide academic input to basic education students who are out of school. conceptualized to be more liberal than the regular public school curriculum, the als encourages self study. An equivalency test is held every oct. upon passing, the students are eligible to enrol in the next grade/year level. Cosca has been an als center since 2010.
The Initiative for the Street Families of Manila is formally on its 2nd year of operation. It has been able to provide basic services to a sizable number of street dwellers from district 5, Manila. It was also during this period that the project has learned more insights on how to best provide for the development of the said sector and in effect, reduce their numbers while at the same time increasing their productivity and most of all, remove them from the streets.
For this year 2012, the Initiative for the Street Families of Manila will be solely implemented by the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) in partnership with external institutions. One of the strategies for a quicker reintegration process for the street dwellers is to introduce to them a supplemental source of livelihood by recycling plastic bags and transforming these into high end items. Most of our partner street families are familar with this since most are into scavenging whatever they can find on the streets and in garbage bins for items they can sell to junkshops. One notable difference is that they can now take in plastic bags, which are normally not being bought from the street dwellers. The project will now, because of a partnership with the Invisible Sisters, will be creating fashion and other high end items from these plastic bags to be sold to the general public. The ultimate aim of this approach is to equip the adult street dwellers with skills on how to crochet using the strips of recycled plastic bags instead of yarn.
To expedite the community reintegration process for the street families, they will be partnered with the members from the basic ecclesial community (BEC) of the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. It is hoped that from the socialization process that will occur, a sense of security and belongingness will come upon the street dwellers and in effect, allow them to reintegrate within established barangays.
A Medical and Dental Mission was held last March 17, 2012 at the The Bagong Tuluyan: Center for Street Families. At least 25 individual street families were able to access free medical services and medicines. Free dental consultation was also provided by the Philippine Dental Association – Manila Chapter.
From the period April to May 2012, the project has also provided the partner street families with the following capacity building activities: session on children and women's rights and skills on pedicure/manicure and hair cutting. One project beneficiary is currently undergoing counselling with a volunteer psychiatrist.
The vegetable garden is still on going and effectively providing viands for the partner street families during their lean periods. Vegetables like eggplant and alukbati, a local vine are often being harvested and cooked to augment their meals.
The project is now preparing the repatriation of 2 street families from Manila to Leyte, a province in the Visasyas area. Our social worker has made all the necessary communication with the local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office in Leyte to ensure proper turnover of project partners. Part of the process is to ensure that the street families will be received by their own relatives and resettled at their communities.
The project is also preparing for the expansion of the Alternative Learning System to include out of school youth and adult learners from the nearby brgys of 718 and 720 in Manila. In anticipation of the influx of learners, the center will be renovating the main room to accomodate more tables, chairs and blackboards. The project will also partner with the Knowledge Channel, an NGO who are into education and provision of technology to deliver educational modules.
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Director, Center for Social Concern and Action