ALTA Student Stories Series Part 1

i Oct 23rd No Comments by

For the past twenty five years ALTA has delivered literacy instruction to adults in Trinidad and Tobago. ALTA students come from a wide range of backgrounds and come to ALTA for many different reasons. For some, ALTA represents an opportunity to be able to read to their children or help them with their homework. For others, ALTA gives them the opportunity to further their studies or live life freely, never having to decline a job offer or a relationship due to their literacy problems. Thousands of ALTA students have graduated the program at different levels and gone on to obtain school leaving certificates, Associate degrees, Undergraduate degrees and full time employment. Many others are now benefitting from new found self-confidence and independence. Today, an ALTA graduate, John Bascombe shares his story. John lives in Central Trinidad and came to ALTA as a Level One student in September 2009. In July 2013 he graduated from ALTA and has gone on to do great things! Read more below.

John Bascombe during an ALTA TV Interview in 2017

“The way we are taught to learn to read in school …I don’t believe that is the right way for everyone…I never learned to read.

After failing Common Entrance I went to trade school but still never learned to read and write. I first heard about ALTA from a friend after I couldn’t sit CXC exams because of my literacy struggles. She told me about the program but I decided to go to night classes instead. They were a waste of my time, there was no structure, it was highly disorganized and it wasn’t a space for someone who could not read and write. I was hesitant about joining ALTA because I felt that it would be the same sort of experience… no structure and no real idea what was going on.

I then moved to the United Kingdom to start a new life and while there met an older woman who could not hear, walk or speak but was able to communicate through writing. This touched me and I felt that it was time that I learn to do so. I didn’t plan to return home to Trinidad but due to passport issues I had no choice.

When I returned, I enrolled in YTEPP and my course was taught by a woman who was also an ALTA tutor. She encouraged me to come to ALTA. I started ALTA in 2009 in Level 1 and graduated from Level 3 in 2013. After ALTA I went on to do CSEC Math, English, Economics, POB and History and then CAPE Economics, MOB and Entrepreneurship and Psychology.

ALTA’s system is really organized, the things I learned in the ALTA classroom helped me with my CAPE exams…my colleagues thought I was the brightest student.

I now work at the Kiss Baking Company in the van loading department and have decided to continue my studies by pursuing law. It is my wish to be a voice to the voiceless and I hope one day to give back to ALTA by becoming a tutor. Last year I applied to the University of London through the Institute of Law and Academic Studies (ILAS) and I was accepted!

I begin my studies in September 2017 and I look forward to becoming a lawyer.”

ALTA is extremely proud of John and all our students who go on to live their best life with ALTA.