It has only been a year but significant accomplishments have already been achieved.
This is how Cebuana Lhuillier marked the first year of its advocacy of establishing Community Learning Centers (CLCs) in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and its Alternative Learning System (ALS).
Through the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm, Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Inc. (CLFI), the partners have already set up in 2014 sixteen (16) DepEd – Cebuana Lhuillier ALS Community Learning Centers nationwide and gave second chances to 1,724 out-of-school youths (OSY) and adults (OSAs) in obtaining their elementary or high school diplomas to enable them to pursue a higher education and get a college degree.
Aside from expanding the number of CLCs and obtaining a high enrollment rate, the company also celebrates the high passing percentage from the centers it adopted. Of the 781 learners who took the Accreditation and Equivalency Test (A&ET), 449 or 57% of the learners passed, which is way higher than the 39% national average. These 449 passers are the first batch of learners who obtained an elementary or secondary degree through CLFI.
Among them is Carina Cortez, 24, from Cubao Elementary School ALS CLC. She obtained a perfect score in the A&ET and emerged as class valedictorian. Cortez is a Person with Disability (PWD) suffering spinal muscular atrophy, which hindered her from finishing secondary formal schooling.
“Tinulungan po kami ng Cebuana at binigyan kami ng magandang pasilidad na aming mapag-aaralan at saka ‘yung mga modules sa pag-aaral,” said Cortez during the awarding ceremonies conducted by CLFI. (Cebuana helped us, gave us facilities for conducive to studying and modules to aid us in learning.)
The high passing rate could be attributed to the unique set-up of DepEd and Cebuana Lhuillier. Unlike the usual ALS centers, those 16 sponsored by the Philippines’s largest microfinancial company in 2014 are equipped with teaching equipment (primarily IT tools) and learning modules.
“Under the Memorandum of Agreement, DepEd agreed to provide ‘engines’ or teachers and teaching complements while, CLFI agreed to provide the ‘fuel’ which will optimize the best performance of the said ‘engines’ by earmarking the amount of Php 125,000 for each center, or a total of 2.375 million for the purchase of teaching equipment and reproduction of learning modules or materials,” explains CLFI Executive Trustee Atty. Cesar Vidal.
As the advocacy enters its second year, Cebuana Lhuillier has already added 3 more CLCs in the calamity-stricken areas of Bohol, Eastern Samar, and Northern Cebu. Some learners of such centers are already included in this year’s batch of A&ET takers. This year, CLFI targets at least 500 A&ET passers from its 19 CLCs . It further aims to expand its reach by adding 12 more CLCs nationwide before the end of 2015 and another 33 by the first semester of 2016. By doing this, it expects to have at least 6,700 enrolees, 3,300 A&ET takers and 1,600 graduates in 2016 and onwards. Furthermore, aside from helping the learners graduate, it will also empower them in the five important Fields of Knowledge; Livelihood, Financial Literacy, Disaster Resiliency, ICT Competitiveness, and Sports Development, making the Cebuana Lhuillier CLCs even more a cut above the rest of its kind in the Philippines.
Currently, CLFI is targeting more partners to realize its goals while focusing on the Five Fields of Knowledege. These potential partners include the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for Livelihood, Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank (CLRB) and Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions (CLIS) for Financial Literacy, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and DZMM Red Alert and Project NOAH of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for Disaster Resiliency, Networld Capital Ventures, Inc. (NCVI) and STI Foundation for ICT competitiveness, and the Philippine Olympic Committee for Sports Development.
The Alternative Learning Program of CLFI, in partnership with the DepEd, along with CLFI’s three other programs on education namely Nationwide Scholarship Program, Spiritual and Social Enhancement Program ,and Special Projects on Education, came into existence in pursuit of the advocacy of PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies (PJLGC) President & CEO Dr. Jean Henri D. Lhuillier of “Always Love Schooling” or the “Continuous Pursuit of Education.”