DepEd-12 to tap women under 4Ps program to help out in ALS

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 April) – The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 will mobilize women covered by the national government’s conditional cash transfer program for the expansion of its learning initiatives in remote villages in the region.

Dr. Melinda Rivera, DepEd Region 12’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) head, said Wednesday they are set to deploy starting this summer some parent-leaders of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the area to assist the implementation of the ALS program.

She said such move was based on an agreement forged between DepEd and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12.

“We will mainly utilize them as teaching assistants in their own communities,” she said in a statement.

Rivera said they initially trained last month several parent-leaders of 4Ps in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato, which was among the pilot areas for the initiative.

She said the parent-leaders will be deployed later on in their respective communities to implement the ALS program.

“They will specifically teach their fellow 4Ps beneficiaries how to read, write and compute,” Rivera said.

Juliet Clavel, 4Ps project coordinator for Region 12, said the trained parent-leaders will be working closely with DepEd’s assigned mobile teachers in their villages.

More parent-leaders in various parts of the region will be trained by DepEd in the coming months to facilitate its region-wide rollout.

ALS is a free education program implemented by DepEd under the Bureau of Alternative Learning System. It was designed for residents who can’t afford formal schooling and attend regular classes in schools.

A program briefer said it provides a viable alternative to the existing formal education instruction, encompassing both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said the involvement of the 4Ps beneficiaries into the ALS program is part of their continuing efforts to help them become self-sufficient and self-reliant citizens.

She said such development also shows that the 4Ps, which is implemented by the DSWD, is not a dole-out initiative.

4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to “poorest of the poor” households to improve their health, nutrition and education, particularly of children aged 0-14 years.

The program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses. A household with three qualified children could get P1,400 monthly.

The program has so far served around 213,000 “poorest of the poor” households within Region 12’s four provinces and five cities.

Gemma Rivera, DSWD Region 12 assistant regional director and 4Ps project manager, said a total of 37,957 beneficiaries are tribal or indigenous peoples and 36,232 are women.