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10 March 2012

21 Inmates pass DepEd exam

Some 21 inmates from the provincial jail of Sta. Cruz, Laguna dream of making up for lost time when they are released from prison by putting to good use the education provided to them by the Department of Education (DepEd) while serving time in jail.
The inmates underwent the Accreditation and Equivalency (A & E) program of DepEd and subsequently passed the A & E Test given in October last year.
“Isang malaking oportunidad ang pagdating sa kulungan ng alternative learning system kaya agad akong nagpalista. Pangarap ko na makapaghanapbuhay ng marangal kapag ako ay laya na (Alternative learning system is a great opportunity for us. That is why I signed up immediately. I want to have a decent job when after I serve my sentence),” inmate Ariel Calvelo shared.
The A & E test gauges the knowledge gained by out-of-school youth and adults after they go through an alternative learning system program. A & E examinees took the test which is hinged on five learning strands namely: communication skills, problem solving and critical thinking, sustainable use of resources and productivity, development of self and sense of community and expanding one’s world vision.
According to Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC, providing learning opportunities even to society offenders is part of inclusive education which the department is duty-bound to uphold. “What the inmates learned in the A & E program are life skills which they can use once out of jail,” said Luistro.
Beginning in 2011, DepEd, through the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), has offered two sets of A & E Tests. Set A is for the sighted test takers while set B (Braille) is for the visually-impaired. Both tests are in two levels—elementary and secondary level.
Those who pass the test for elementary level A & E can pursue secondary education while examinees who passed the A & E for secondary level can continue on to tertiary education.
DepEd has allowed the use of extension testing centers to accommodate examinees in prisons, camps, correctional formation, and rehabilitation centers.
“Ang aking pangarap ay makapasa at makatapos ng aking pag-aaral habang ako ay narito pa sa loob ng kulungan (I want to pass and finish my studies while in prison),” another inmate Jeffrey de la Cruz disclosed.
One foreign inmate who also took and passed the test said, “I lost the chance to study while in my own country. Now I am grateful for this chance to study and thanks to the teacher who comes here to teach us even if he is tired.”

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