Education Secretary Armin Luistro visited the Sandiwaan Center for Learning in the Maynilad Building on Del Pan Street, where out-of-school youth learn basic high school subjects online.
Luistro vowed to provide the school run by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) subsidy through the program called “Abot Alam.”
The school has enticed dropouts from Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila to finish their high school using high-tech computers on which they learn the basic secondary subjects.
Twenty-four students are now finishing their high school course at Sandiwaan, according to Fr. Ben Beltran, SVD, the school’s executive director. Twenty-four adult students are also taking lessons in encoding.
Beltran said their graduates usually land jobs as encoders and medical transcriptionists. He revealed that eBook learning is now three years old. Some of its 170 graduates are now gainfully employed abroad.
Mariafe Embing, 19, said she left the public high school already in third year. Now she is determined to finish the course.
“We already took the Alternative Learning System Equivalency Exam last November. We are just waiting for the results. Once we pass, we will look for jobs just like the previous graduates,” said Embing.
Jessica Ann Goajalis, a mother of a one-year-old boy at 19, said they only spend two hours a day from Monday to Thursday in front of the computer and yet they have covered all the basic subjects aside from learning how to type.
Beltran said the SVD community was proposing to establish another school in Tacloban City to cater to the young adults there, including orphaned youths. He said they have found a building that they could renovate.
They are also active in distributing computers to Muslim youths in Lanao del Norte. So far, 3,000 computers have been given away.
Beltran added that computers are very effective to entice the out of school youths to return to school. “Although they are poor, they spend their money at computer shops. If you tell them that they will learn English, Math and Science using computers, they become interested,” he said
Luistro hailed the inclusive educational system of the SVD fathers after learning that mothers also enroll in eBook courses.
The SVD fathers also run a daycare center in Smokey Mountain with the help of seven loyal teachers. The daycare has been in existence for 28 years under the leadership of head teacher Nelia Balauro, 48, also a resident of Smokey Mountain. They have 400 nursery students.