KIBUNGAN, BENGUET - The ongoing campaigns to save learners from dropping out of school through various interventions such as the provision of alternative learning delivery modes or saving them through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) have a great bearing on the future of the younger generation.
As one of the facilitators of ALS for more than a decade, I personally witnessed how former dropouts or how "once labelled as misdirected youth" became somebody today, thanks to their enticement to still pursue schooling through the ALS program. Take for instance the case of Ronmar Lasona Lacay from Madaymen, Kibungan, Benguet.
I first met Ronmar in 2012 when he was then a 3rd year high school dropout from the San Jose High School in La Trinidad.
The 4th son of Pedrito Sr. Lacay and Rosemarie Lasona was convinced to pursue the ALS program at the Madaymen Learning Center, where I was assigned as the facilitator.
Recognizing his potential as an ALS learner, Ronmar was assisted in taking the Accreditation and Equivalency (A &E) test conducted at the Benguet National High School in 2012.
Having passed the A & E test enabled Ronmar to join the centralized ALS graduation as a high school graduate at the BeNHS-Main during the SY 2012-2013.
Contrary to the notion that he was misdirected for having been once a dropout, he actually developed new-found interest to pursue schooling after hurdling secondary education through the A & E test when the K-12 program was not yet in effect.
Before pursuing his college education, he attended trainings on butchery-National Certificate (NC) 2 and driving-NC2 conducted by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). He accomplished this feat while working as a farmer and a driver.
To others, income or money is what matters most. But to Ronmar, he cherished the value of at least a college degree so that he could have multiple options in his future life. Instead of remaining as a farmer or a driver of his own vehicle, he decided to pursue his college education. He took up Bachelor of Science in Criminology at the Cordillera Career Development College in 2017.
Having gained a mature perspective in life, he graduated in 2021 and took the Board Exam for Criminologists in the same year. He passed the board exam with a high rating of 82.25%, earning admiration not only from his parents but also from the Madaymen community.
Mr. Lacay is currently undergoing the training program of the Philippine National Police for six months and hopefully become a full-fledged Police Officer or as what other writers call 'men in uniform to serve and protect' the people.
Mr. Lacay's case is among the many success stories of former dropouts or learners in difficult circumstances who were fortunate to have pursued their education through the ALS program.
His story is part of the efforts of the ALS Learning Centers in Benguet to track the present status of their previous A & E passers.
Written by Chester P. Bolcio via DepEd Tayo Benguet.