ERDA Launches CFA Learning Materials

SEPT 19th 2017

Before an audience of community educators and young students from all over the country, the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation launched three printed modules and an interactive CD produced by the Communication Foundation for Asia for ERDA’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.

The launch took place during ERDA’s Bulilit/Barangay Educators and Storytellers Convention held at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel on May 28, 2011. In her introductory remarks, ERDA Executive Director Dolor Cardeño recalled how the ERDA-CFA partnership started in 2007-08 with a series of training workshops on puppetry and other communication skills, which CFA provided for ERDA teachers and trainers with the help of LJP in the Netherlands. In her response, CFA Executive Director Terry Hermano reaffirmed CFA’s commitment to the project partnership in Tondo and to the vision of education that is accessible to all. There were smiles all around as she turned over the printed modules and interactive CD to the ERDA Executive Director./p>

The new ALS materials, dubbed ALSA MULAT-NULAT (Raising Awareness and Literacy) aims to prepare scavenger and street children of Tondo and other out-of-school youth to earn high school equivalency diplomas. With the help of a grant from Feed the Minds in the UK, CFA’s Publications and Electronic Media Departments collaborated with the project officers of ERDA’s ALS program to plan the concept and content of the modules. CFA then wrote and edited the final texts, provided the illustrations and layout of the three workbooks and the design of the interactive CD. The contents of the modules are all based on the Philippine Department of Education’s Alternative Learning curriculum.

The first module, titled Sagipin ang Bawat Nangangarap (“Protect Every Dreamer”), attempts to explain to the students why situations of poverty exist, such as what they experience first-hand in Smokey Mountain in Tondo. There is a discussion of children’s rights – among which is the right to education. The students are taught that education is the ticket out of poverty.

The second module deals with Agham, Matematika at Teknolohiya (“Science, Mathematics and Technology”) – the technical side of the student’s course. Discussions here are simplified for quicker understanding. Where possible, applications in the student’s local setting are given.

The third module aims at enhancing the students’ communication skills or Kagalingan sa Komunikasyon. A large part of the High School Equivalency Test that they will encounter consists of essay writing so they are given plenty of lessons in this area.

The Interactive CD is a supplement and not a duplication of the print modules. It covers three main topics: Care for Environment, Nutrition, and Rights of the Child. The CD contains short discussions, links to relevant websites, practical videos featuring actual families from the Tondo community, games and activities about the topic and a short review quiz at the end of each module.

The modules were pretested before final printing and duplication, and evaluated jointly by CFA and ERDA senior staff. The results have been very positive. According to ERDA’s ALS trainer Mr. Albin Salamat, “CFA’s Learning Modules are bridging the gap in terms of instruction. The materials provided by the Department of Education are useful but they do not appeal very much to the students as they seem dry and dull to them, while, as we have heard from the students’ comments, the CFA-designed modules are attractive and interesting.”

As early as the 1980s, the Communication Foundation for Asia had worked in Tondo on a number of projects, including the Mothers of Tondo Livelihood project and the Tondo Youth Scholarship Program. CFA’s Tondo Youth Scholarships lasted until the late 1990s, enabling a large number of Tondo boys and girls to get a college education. From 2004 to 2006, CFA collaborated with a group based in Smokey Mountain on an E-Learning project. A year after the project ended, CFA approached the community-based ERDA for partnership on another education project in Tondo. ERDA has a Learning Center for out-of-school youth near the Smokey Mountain dump site in Tondo.