More than 300 Ateneo de Zamboanga University students served as student teachers to the learners of the Alternative Learning System (ALS). 

For five Saturdays during the month of February, 304 first year students under the National Services Training Program (NSTP) – Literacy Training Service (LTS) of Ateneo de

Zamboanga University (AdZU) got immersed in teaching ALS Learners from various community learning centers in Zamboanga city.

“It aims to expose ADZU NSTP-LTS students to the educational realities beyond the confines of the Ateneo and their economic stature while they develop basic skills in teaching and handling learners,” Charissa Mae Ibañez, First Year Formation Program (FFP) NSTP Coordinator said.

The student teachers used the Power for Youth (PFY) Worksheets developed by the ALS Implementers of Zamboanga del Norte, with the help of experts from the AdZU School of Education in teaching the ALS Learners.

Looking back to a year ago, the SUGPAT team was just facilitating a writeshop with over 130 implementers of the Alternative Learning System in Zamboanga del Norte and since then, it has always been our dream to share this learning resource to other implementers within the neighboring areas in Zamboanga Peninsula, SUGPAT Assistant Training Officer and point person to NSTP-LTS Partnership Abmel Immid said. 

He continued, “this partnership with NSTP-LTS paved a way for us to pilot this dream. Through this, we were able to prove how user-friendly the PFY worksheets are because it was freshmen college students of ADZU who utilized it.”

Focusing on lessons on financial fitness, the students taught ALS Learners coming from community learning centers of Mercedes, Putik and Zamboanga City High School Main.

NSTP Formator Japeth Palaad said that through this immersion, the LTS students gained first hand experience of the real scenario of the educational system in the country, especially in public and alternative schools. 

He narrated that the students experienced holding sessions in the school’s backfield, where they conducted the activities under acacia trees. 

Students get to experience holding classes at every nook available in the area, Ibañez continued, “I have seen how our NSTP students prepared their visuals and other materials, and how they deliver these with the learners.”

“There is no limit in learning. It was truly inspiring seeing them attend classes every Saturday with curious eyes. Regardless of their age and their past, they are all there willing to take the first steps in better understanding of the society we live in,” Trixia Danag, BS Bio Medical Engineering student said. 

For Danag, it was a humbling experience. It was through the Literacy Training Service that she understood and expressed how to be men and women for and with others. “We were put out there with only the worksheets as a guide; everything depended on our teamwork and how well we communicated with the learners,” she added.

First year BS Nursing student Gracelle Erica Fabian also shared her key takeaways for this experience, “NSTP-LTS balanced me as an atenean student, I am not only learning academically, but I am also learning through my experiences. This formed me to use not only my brain, but also my heart and my hands. I was able to exercise the core values of St. Ignatius.

The Power for Youth partnership between UNICEF and ING supports the Department of Education’s development thrust to enhance the current Alternative Delivery System (ALS) program strategies, teaching approaches, and learning materials towards better learning and development of 21st-century skills among learners in the ALS.  There will be deliberate links on the flexible learning interventions and that of the platforms for youth engagement to ensure that the goal for youth empowerment is achieved. The project is implemented by Ateneo de Zamboanga University’s SUGPAT Program. 

The PFY Worksheets are available at bit.ly/ICT4ALS and at sugpat.org/resources.

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