International Review of Education

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 755–784 | Cite as

Application of the Literacy Training Service component of the National Service Training Program in New Bilibid Prison (Philippines)

  • Emma Lina F. LopezEmail author
Original Paper


In 2000, the government of the Philippines launched its National Service Training Program (NSTP), a compulsory 2-semester course component for all the country’s Bachelor and technical vocational students. There is a choice of three subject areas, one of which is the Literacy Training Service (LTS) module. This is designed to train students in teaching literacy and numeracy skills to schoolchildren, out-of-school youths and other citizens in need of their services, including prison inmates. This article looks into the application of NSTP-LTS at New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila. The author’s study involved 24 students (13 female, 11 male) from the University of the Philippines teaching 40 male inmate learners incarcerated in the national penitentiary’s medium security compound over a period of two months. Many of the inmate learners (aged 14–61) had very low literacy and numeracy skills, and some had never been to school at all. The university students were immersed in an environment entirely unknown to them and performed roles from which they obtained a different perspective and understanding of society. The inmate learners were eager to avail of this opportunity to participate in second-chance education. Despite the many benefits of this learning process for all participants, in her conclusion, the author points out several challenges which still need to be overcome to optimise the application of NSTP-LTS in correctional institutions of the Philippines.


teacher training National Service Training Program Literacy Training Service Alternative Learning System (ALS) New Bilibid Prison prison education inmate learners 


Application du module Service de formation à l'alphabétisation du Programme national de service de formation dans la prison de New Bilibid (Philippines) – Le Gouvernement philippin a lancé en 2000 son programme national de formation, module didactique sur deux semestres obligatoire pour tous les élèves en formation professionnelle technique et les étudiants en licence du pays. Ils peuvent choisir entre trois domaines, dont le service d’alphabétisation. Ce dernier a pour but de former les étudiants à enseigner les compétences de base en alphabétisme et numératie aux écoliers, aux jeunes déscolarisés et à d’autres citoyens nécessitant ces prestations, dont les personnes incarcérées. Le présent article analyse l’application de ce module dans la prison de New Bilibid de Muntinlupa-Ville, Metro Manila. L’auteure a impliqué dans son étude 13 étudiantes et 11 étudiants de l’université des Philippines, qui ont dispensé pendant une période de deux mois un enseignement à 40 apprenants masculins incarcérés dans le centre pénitentiaire national de sécurité moyenne. Un grand nombre d’entre eux (âgés de 14 à 61 ans) avaient des compétences de base très succinctes, et quelques-uns n’avaient jamais été scolarisés. Les étudiants ont été immergés dans un environnement qui leur était entièrement inconnu, ils ont assumé des tâches qui leur ont ouvert une perspective et permis une appréhension différentes de la société. Les détenus apprenants étaient très désireux de saisir cette occasion de suivre un enseignement de la seconde chance. Malgré les nombreux bienfaits de cette démarche d’apprentissage pour tous les participants, l’auteure relève dans sa conclusion plusieurs défis qui restent à surmonter afin d’optimiser l’application de ce programme dans les établissements pénitentiaires des Philippines.



This article/the work discussed in it was funded by a Research Grant from the Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines in Diliman.


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Copyright information

© UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asian Institute of TourismUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines

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