Embracing the last, the lost, and the least: The story of an ALS teacher

September 23, 2017

Mrs. Marlyn Dondoy started teaching English at Dasmariñas National High School - Bulihan Annex in Silang, Cavite on September 16, 2002. Everything was going smoothly.

But eleven years after, she was assigned with what she considered as the greatest challenge in her teaching profession –  the task to handle Alternative Learning System (ALS).

At first, she was uncertain as to where and how to begin, having no records of out-of-school youth and adults from different barangays in their locality.

Amidst the struggles, she was able to gather the target learners. She was then designated as the school’s full-time ALS coordinator. The job was complex, as it entails handling individuals with diverse backgrounds. Mrs. Dondoy experienced how different it was from handling learners under the formal system of education.

It was disheartening for Mrs. Dondoy to note that handling ALS is not that appealing among teachers. This is why she embraced the challenge tighter.

“As a teacher, it is my duty to share a shade of hope to my learners, especially the out-of-school youth and adults who are sometimes considered the last, the lost and the least,” she shared.

In 2013, she had six learners in secondary level who successfully passed the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test. The following year, there were a total of 17 passers – two for elementary, and 15 for secondary. Bullihan National High School also became one of the Testing Centers in the Schools Division of Cavite City.

In 2015, Mrs. Dondoy was designated as the Test Registration Officer. With all the courage she could muster, she went to three extension centers of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Carmona, Silang, and General Mariano Alvarez in Cavite to register detainees who were qualified to take the test.

This year, she had 33 passers – six for elementary, and 27 for secondary. The increasing number is a testament to how Mrs. Dondoy persevered in her mission, and cared for her learners.

Some of these passers are already employed, and this is what she considers as her reward for all her hard work, which could not be equaled by any monetary compensation.