e-Hope for High School dropouts

In an alternation learning setup that seeks to maximize new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), students no longer need to bring lots of pens and papers when taking quizzes. In fact, they do not even have to go to class five times a week to finish high school. Participants of eSkwela just sit in front of a computer for about three hours a week. They learn according to their need and speed. The program integrates ICTs into the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education. It aims 'to provide ICT-enhanced educational opportunities for Filipino out-of-school youth and adults,' according to the website of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), which spearheads the project.

The usual ALS programs use printed modules to teach students who have dropped out of regular schools because of poverty or other reasons. It prepares them for DepEd's Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Examination for the chance to get the equivalent of a high school diploma. Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took the test and earned his diploma two years ago. By using new technologies, the eSkwela, which is free, not only provides opportunities for poor dropouts, but even those from more affluent families. 'We have students who have gone to different private schools and got kicked out because of disciplinary problems,' said project manager Maria Melizza Tan.

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