Abot Alam is an interagency convergence effort to reach out around a million out-of-school youth (OSY) in the country in 2014 and another million in 2015 to provide them appropriate intervention in education, entrepreneurship or employment.
In Sarangani, from the 14,000 OSY ageing 15 to 30 years old that the schools division office mapped out as the balik-aral population, around 11,000 of them registered to the Abot Alam Program whose implementation started last March.
Abot Alam is DepEd’s national strategy in line with its goal of achieving education for all and of the Millennium Development Goal targets to locate OSY nationwide who have not completed basic or higher education or who are unemployed.
The program was primarily aimed at creating a database of all OSY in the country, unify efforts of various agencies towards addressing OSY problems and ensure that they have the access to these stakeholders’ programs and services.
Luistro said the program would bring education closer to those who have missed the chance to once again develop their stock abilities which they could eventually share to others.
As he lamented the OSYs’ plight, Luistro said “hindi po sila bobo. Hindi po sila mang-mang. Nawalan lang sila ng pagkakataon na ibigay ng gobyerno o ng mga eskwelahan natin para makatapos ng kanilang high school.”
Abot Alam, he said, hopes to address this. After all, he added, it is the responsibility of DepEd to provide them avenues to fulfill their dreams.
“Responsibilidad po natin bilang kagawaran na siguraduhin na hindi lamang ang nangangarap, pati yung nahihirapan ng mangarap at pati na rin yung ayaw nang mangarap, na buksan muli ang ating pintuan para muli silang makapagpangarap ng kinabukasan.”
On his onsite visit to the municipality of Glan, Luistro tapped barangay captains to help in doing house to house census of OSY below 30 years old for the Abot Alam facilitators to handle under modular learning program.
There are a total of 148 facilitators deployed in Sarangani with at least 75 learners each to handle.
With the implementation of Abot Alam, the DepEd division office reported an increase of enrollees to informal education to 14,000 this year compared to 6,000 in 2014.
Last year, around 1,442 completed the Basic Literacy Program; some 899 learners completed the Accreditation and Equivalency in both elementary and secondary programs; and around 1,161 learners completed the program handled by District Alternative Learning System coordinators.
These are all informal education programs of DepEd for dropouts in elementary and secondary schools, out-of-school youth and non-readers. It is part of the education system of the Philippines but an alternative to the regular classroom studies where facilitators still have to go thru tiring trips in accessing far-off barangays just to conduct sessions.
Luistro complimented the facilitators’ sacrifices as he also lauded them for representing as the “face of DepEd” to the remotest areas in the Philippines where, according to him, “ang mga pangarap ay pilit nang kinalimutan.”
To ensure that interactive learning takes place in communities, Luistro donated a total of 76 laptops for DepEd Region 12 where the schools divisions of South Cotabato, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani received 19 units each.
According to Luistro, the laptops were smuggled items seized by the Bureau of Customs which he lobbied to be donated to DepEd for the use of teachers instead of having them auctioned off.
Meanwhile, DepEd Region 12 director Allan Farnazo enjoined the support of all teaching and non-teaching personnel in the region to the Abot Alam Program. “This is our program and everyone is encouraged to conduct advocacy campaign to give equal opportunities to those learners who have not finished their basic education in the formal schools.”(Beverly C. Paoyon/ SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)