Republic Act 11510 or The Alternative Learning System Act: A Promise To A Better Future
BY KARIZA CELIS, JD 1 AND MEAGAN CATRICE MONTESA, JD 1
“The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all”Section 1 of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution
Our Constitution mandates that every Filipino has a right to accessible and quality education. Our Country has made remarkable progress in terms of improving the quality of basic education. And yet, according to the 2020 study made by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics more than 11 percent of adolescents drop out of school before completing the last level in Junior High School. Based on 2017 Philippine Statistics Authority data, 9 percent or 3.53 million of the estimated 39.2 Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years old were considered Out of School Youths (OSYs). Of that number, 83.1 percent consists of individuals 16 to 24 years old, 11.2 percent were 12 to 15 years old, and 5.7 percent were 6 to 11 years old.
The Department of Education (DepEd) as the State mandated agency to formulate, implement, coordinate policies, plan program and projects in the areas of formal and non-formal basic education. In its effort to lessen out of school youth and to provide free basic education to those who want to learn but do not have the means, the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001, otherwise known as Republic Act 9155 established Alternative Learning System (ALS).
What is Alternative Learning System?
Enacted on December 23, 2020, Republic Act No.11510 of 2020 also known as the Alternative Learning System Act, is a parallel learning system that provides opportunities for out-of-school youth and adult (OSYA) learners to develop basic and functional literacy skills, and to access equivalent pathways to complete basic education.
The Department of Education implemented the Alternative Learning System to provide a feasible alternative quality education to the Filipino people. This parallel learning system aims to provide a practical solution to our fellow men who do not have access to formal education, hence, this non-formal substitute was implemented.
Although the whole world has witnessed the abundance and beauty of the Philippines, there are still some parts of the country that are seeking everybody’s attention and assistance.
Communities residing in remote areas that do not have access to schools need this program the most. The goal of the ALS Program is to provide increased opportunities for adult learners, out-of-school children, and indigenous people to learn useful skills such as carpentry and welding or acquire basic literacy skills to aim and pursue a sustainable future for our countrymen through achieving basic quality education.
The act defined two types of learners which is its target, those that are considered “Out-of-school children in special cases” children in the official school age who are not enrolled in elementary or secondary school due to special cases such as economic, geographic, political, cultural, or social barriers, including learners with disabilities or conditions, indigenous peoples, children in conflict with the law, learners in emergency situations, and other marginalized sectors and “Adults” Filipinos age 18 years old and above who were not able to begin or continue basic elementary or secondary) education in formal school.
Admission and Programs under ALS
Those who are interested in learning under the system should complete and submit the following requirements to ALS teachers in your area or to the Schools Division/District Office:
- Photocopy of birth certificate (PSA) / baptismal certificate
- 2×2 ID picture (white background)
- Form 137 (only for learners from the formal education system)
The DepEd and the Bureau of Alternative Education (BAE) implements two programs, The Basic Literacy Program and the Accreditation and Equivalency Program (A&E Program):
The Basic Literacy Program focuses on eradicating illiteracy in the Philippines through teaching reading, writing, numeracy, and basic comprehension to out-of-school children in special cases, adults, and indigenous people.
On the other hand, the Accreditation and Equivalency Program (A&E Program) aims to help out-of-school children in special cases and adults, particularly school dropouts, to complete their elementary and secondary education through completing the ALS Program.
Other than these major ALS Program, the government is also providing other classes such as the Indigenous Peoples Education Program, the Academic-Focused Bridging Program, and the Functional Education and Literacy Program.
These are the different relevant and responsive learning modalities that the DepEd employ to effectively deliver the different Non-formal Education (NFE) programs:
- Online, digital or mobile learning
- Face-to-face learning sessions and tutorials
- Blended learning or a combination of various modalities
- Workshops, simulations, and internship to inculcate life skills, work readiness, and entrepreneurship
- Provision of inclusive and safe learning environments
Three level of certifications can be received upon completion of the programs, Those who pass elementary level A&E are qualified to enroll in junior high school
Those who pass the junior high school A&E are qualified for senior high school or may enroll in selected technical vocational education and training programs, as appropriate, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Those who pass the senior high school level A&E are qualified for higher education, as appropriate, provided that they comply with the other basic requirements set by the schools or higher education institutions (HEIs) as requirements for enrollment. They may also enroll in technical vocational education and training programs, as appropriate, through the TESDA.
Objectives of ALS
The ALS program aims to obtain not only the benefit and the needs of the learner, but also the educator. The following are the visions that this program aspires to achieve:
- A special program for learners with disabilities and providing learning techniques and instruction materials that suit the learning pace.
- Provide quality attention and basic education to out-of-school children in special cases, adult learners, and indigenous people.
- Easy access to educational programs for learners residing in remote areas and in conflict-affected communities.
- Hire and deploy ALS Teachers and Facilitators to provide ALS programs especially in far-flung areas, conflict-affected communities, and communities experiencing emergency situations.
- To improve the level of literacy among Filipinos.
- To promote caring self-reliant, independent, and productive citizens by encouraging to pursue and accomplish
- To provide flexible learning programs and learning contents and as well as to integrate formal and non-formal and informal educational strategies and approaches to the ALS learners.
Department of Education and Bureau of Alternative Education and its partners
DepEd is given the authority to prescribe the appropriate minimum number of months required for the completion of each of the different ALS program, regularly conduct ALS Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Assessments and certifications, Create teaching position and allocate the corresponding salary grades, engage the services of of Community ALS implementation to augment the needed personnel for the delivery of the program and also conduct regular training programs and workshops for ALS Teachers, Community ALS Implementers and Learning Facilitators.
The Bureau of Alternative Education is created by the Department of Education to serve as a focal office in implementing and supervising the ALS Program.Their main role is to formulate policy, curriculum development, learning program delivery and learning materials development. They also monitor, evaluate and manage not only the learning aids required for the students but also maintain the standard of competency among the ALS teachers and other personnel in this program.
The Commission for Higher Education (CHED) will assist in promoting among HEIs the admission of ALS A&E passers. It support the DepEd in the development of college readiness supplemental programs and provide access to scholarship. CHED will also develop standardized and formalized ALS curriculum for a specialized degree in ALS teaching.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) assists the DePEd in equipping ALS learners with technical-vocational skills and provide access to national certification, as applicable, to improve their work readiness. It supports the DepEd in implementing post-program support activities including providing access to scholarships.
The different agencies like, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall create opportunities for learners and graduated of the program to work in their industries and specialized functions, it can be on-the-job-training, employment or entrepreneurship.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) helps in enlisting the support of LGUs as DepEd partners in the implementation of ALS program in their locality as well as requiring the LGUs participation including but not limited to, the generation and mapping of data related to education as dimension of poverty under Republic Act No. 11315 or the “Community-Based Monitoring System Act”. LGUs as a partner, to help in identifying and mobilize prospective ALS learner, provide access to conducive learning environment, contribute available resources to ALS programs, promote post-program activities, and introduce local innovations as may be necessary.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) to collaborate with the DepEd to facilitate, expand, and strengthen the implementation of ALS programs for persons deprived of liberty.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to assist the DepEd to develop culturally responsive curriculum that respects and takes into account the indigenous knowledge system and practices and indigenous learning system and be integrated with the prescribe ALS curriculum.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology shall help the DepEd in the ALS implementation by providing digital resources to the various ALS CLCs and guidance for the digital literacy component of the ALS K to 12 BEC and the ALS NFE programs.
The Department of Health shall assist ALS Teachers in the delivery of health education and other services that promote the health and well-being of ALS learners, especially female childbearing youth and adult learners. It shall partner with the DepEd in providing ALS programs for qualified patients of its various drug treatment and rehabilitation centers.
Other relevant governmental agencies whose mandated functions and mechanism are necessary to effectively and sustainably implement the ALS program are also enjoined to help in this system.
Where it stands now
The UNICEF conducted a study last 2020 on the Barriers to Access and Complete the Alternative Learning System among Adolescents and found that ALS programs opens opportunities for those who dropped out of formal education by enabling the learners under the system to pursue parallel education and career advancement. The study showed that the flexible schedule of the classes, many learners aspired to finish basic education, because it enables them to both work and study at the same time.
The study also showed that ALS learners who encountered issues with the lesson, or those that struggle with the program are less likely to complete the program. And that the issue that the they left formal education are for the same reason they were also the same reason they could not complete the system: lack of financial support and parental guidance, lack of interest, and vices.
Though, those who have finished has also find better ways of living and also acceptance and scholarship to University.
Education: The Hope of The Future
As our national hero, Jose Rizal once said, “The youth is the hope of our future” but what would happen to our future if it is left uneducated? The social and professional climate currently is geared toward technological advancement, getting a good paying job has become more competitive compared to a decade before. The pool of competitors is not just limited to our country now, but we are also competing with other countries. The need for a better, quality and international standard education is needed for our future to be ready in a rapidly advancing world.
With the ongoing pandemic, the education system in our country is continuously adapting through each small change and circumstances that mankind has to go through amidst this Pandemic. Nevertheless, we Filipinos are known for our resilience and no natural phenomenon can stop one from building a better and a more promising future.