What is Alternative Learning System or ALS?
It is a parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction. When one does not have or cannot access formal education in schools, ALS is an alternate or substitute. ALS includes both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills.
Why is there a need for Alternative Learning System in the Philippines?
Many Filipinos do not have a chance to attend and finish formal basic education (Grades 1-6 and Year 1-4) due to many reasons. Some drop out from schools while some do not have schools in their communities. Since every Filipino has a right to free basic education, the Government establishes ALS to provide all Filipinos the chance to have access to and complete basic education in a mode that fits their distinct situations and needs.
What is the basis of ALS implementation in the Philippines?
The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides for the recognition and promotion of other forms of education other than formal education. Article XIV, Section 2, Paragraph (1) declares that the State shall establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society; and paragraph (4) concisely encourages non-formal, informal and indigenous learning systems as well as self-learning, independent and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs.
The Governance Act for Basic Education otherwise known as the Republic Act 9155 stipulates the establishment of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) to provide out-of-school children, youth and adults population with basic education.
How does ALS work?
There are two major programs on ALS that are being implemented by the Department of Education, through the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS). One is the Basic Literacy Program and the other is the Continuing Education Program – Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E). Both programs are modular and flexible. This means that learning can take place anytime and any place, depending on the convenience and availability of the learners.
What is the difference between the Formal Education System and the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Non-formal Education?
Formal Education system is classroom-based, managed by trained formal school teachers.
ALS Non-formal Education happens outside the classroom, community-based, usually conducted at community learning centers, barangay multi-purpose hall, libraries or at home, managed by ALS learning facilitators, such as mobile teachers, district ALS Coordinators, instructional managers at an agreed schedule and venue between the learners and facilitators.
What curriculum is used in the ALS?
The ALS Curriculum reflects the set of knowledge skills and competencies that learners should develop to meet the minimum requirements of basic education. It is comparable to the formal school curriculum. The teaching and learning processes and resources are based on the ALS Curriculum.
Who are the target learners in the ALS?
ALS is intended for out-of-school children, youth and adults who need basic and functional literacy skills, knowledge and values. These people are usually located in far-flung communities with no or limited access to formal schools.
In 2008, it was estimated that 40.95 million or 45% of the total Philippine population did not complete basic education. This population is considered the target groups of the alternative learning system.
Among the target groups, 27.53 million are 15 years old and above. Meanwhile, 6-11 years old (8.7 million) and 12-15 (4.7 million) years old are the aggregated target learners who are in-school age.
Specifically, this group of marginalized learners consists of street children, indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolks, women, adolescents, solo parents, children in conflict areas not reached by the formal school system, rebel returnees, and others.
Who delivers the ALS?
ALS is either DepEd-delivered, DepEd-procured, or DepEd Partners-delivered.
DepEd-delivered refers to the implementation arrangement where program is directly carried-out by DepEd ALS implementers such as the ALS Mobile Teachers and District ALS Coordinators.
DepEd-procured refers to the implementation arrangement where program is contracted by DepEd to service providers such as non-government organizations and other government organizations and literacy volunteers.
DepEd Partners-delivered refers to the implementation of ALS Programs by non-DepEd organizations such as Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other Government Organizations (GOs), international donor agencies, church-based organizations and individuals on a voluntary basis using their own resources.
Who are the DepEd ALS Field Implementors?
The ALS Programs are carried out by ALS Mobile Teachers and District ALS Coordinators in the 17 regions of the country. Both are DepEd employed and hold regular teacher items.
Mobile Teachers are “specialized” teachers who live among the people in remote barangays of the country to conduct the BLP for illiterate out-of-school children, youth and adults who are willing to learn basic literacy skills and proceed to Continuing Education program: Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) for those who left formal school system or have no access to schools.
The District ALS Coordinators are primarily designated to harmonize ALS initiatives in a district. However, just like the Mobile Teachers, they also serve as learning facilitators in the delivery of the different ALS programs/projects.
How does learning intervention take place in the ALS?
The learning facilitator (Facilitator, Instructional Manager, ALS Mobile Teacher, District ALS Coordinator) goes to a sitio or barangay with Functional Literacy Test and a set of learning materials to conduct learning sessions until such time that the learners have become literate before going to another sitio or barangay. However, depending on the need of the learners, the learning facilitator goes back to a sitio or barangay for visitation and follow-up.
Most of the time, instead of the learners going to the Community Learning Center, the learning facilitator brings the learning materials to the learners to help them acquire basic and or functional literacy skills.
ALS programs are delivered in various modes such as face-to-face, radio-based, eSkwela/computer-based or independent learning.
Where do learning sessions take place?
Learning sessions take place at the Community Learning Center or at any place convenient to the learners. Teaching and learning may also take place at the homes of the learners, under the shades of trees, inside a church or mosque, playground and any other available space and venue.
What materials are used in the ALS?
The ALS utilizes learning modules. Each module is complete in itself. It contains the description of the module, objectives, learning activities, and pre and post tests. Modules for the basic and lower elementary level learners come with a Facilitator’s Guide. Meanwhile, modules for advanced elementary and secondary levels were designed for self-learning.
In the conduct of ALS sessions, use of supplementary learning materials is being encouraged particularly those that are developed by the Facilitator to suit the local need and context and are locally available.
In partnership with various organizations, both local and international, the DepEd-BALS was able to adapt and/or produce print and non-print learning materials to supplement the existing modules in the conduct of ALS learning sessions.
Supplementary materials are important in the conduct of ALS learning sessions. Additional materials make learning sessions more effective by reinforcing newly acquired literacy skills. They also serve as springboards to a new lesson, thus, making learning more fun and interesting. Use of multi-media also gives both Facilitators and learners chance to access new information and technology and activates multi-sensory learning.
What are the areas of learning in the ALS?
The learning areas in the ALS are called learning strands which are the equivalent of the “subjects” in the formal school system.
These learning strands are:
- Communication Skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
- Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking (numeracy and scientific thinking)
- Sustainable use of Resources/Productivity (ability to earn a living through self-employment, outside employment, entrepreneurship, sustainable use of resources and appropriate technology and productivity)
- Development of Self and a Sense of Community (self-development, a sense of personal and national history and identity, cultural pride and recognition and understanding of civil and political rights)
- Expanding One’s World Vision (knowledge, respect and appreciation for diversity, peace and non-violent resolution of conflict, and global awareness and solidarity)
Is there an entrance test in the ALS?
The potential learner in the ALS goes through a screening process to determine whatever prior learning that he/she may have through the Functional Literacy Test (FLT). This assessment will assist the Learning Facilitator to set-up a teaching and learning plan for a particular learner.
The FLT is composed of five (5) parts. These are 1) the Personal Information Sheet (PIS), 2) Listening and Speaking, 3) Reading, 4) Writing, and 5) Numeracy.
What is the difference between non-formal education and informal education?
To reach this marginalized group of learners, BALS implements non-formal and informal education or education that takes place outside the formal school system.
Republic Act 9155 defines Non-formal Education as “any organized, systematic educational activity carried outside the framework of the formal school system to provide selected types of learning to a segment of the population”.
On the other hand, Informal Education is defined as “a lifelong process of learning by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences at home, at work, at play and from life itself”.
BALS carries out two Non-formal Education Programs: a) the Basic Literacy Program (BLP) for illiterates and the b) Continuing Education: Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program for elementary and high school drop-outs.
BALS has developed Informal Education courses that include self-interest and life experiences programs. Initially, it has already developed a special curriculum for indigenous peoples (IPs). With this construct, greater learning needs will be addressed and funneled to promote lifelong learning in all streams of education.
Program for Illiterates:
Basic Literacy Program (BLP)
The Basic Literacy Program (BLP) is a program aimed at eradicating illiteracy among out-of-schools youth and adults (in extreme cases school-aged children) by developing basic literacy skills of reading, writing and numeracy.
Program for dropouts of formal Elementary and Secondary Levels:
Continuing Education: Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program
The Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program is a program aimed at providing an alternative pathway of learning for out-of-school children, youth and adults who are basically literate but who have not completed the 10 years of basic education mandated by the Philippine Constitution. Through this program, school dropouts are able to complete elementary and high school education outside the formal school system.
For information on the A&E Test, go to the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Test page.
Program for Indigenous Peoples:
Indigenous Peoples Education
The Indigenous Peoples Education is a research and development project which aims to provide basic education support services to IP communities. This is initially implemented at the tribal communities in Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte, Gen. Nakar, Quezon, and Botolan, Zambales.
Program for Muslim Migrants:
Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education in Alternative Learning System (ALIVE in ALS)
The Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education in Alternative Learning System (ALIVE in ALS) is designed for the Muslim Migrants to be able to positively contribute to the peace efforts of our government in order to improve the quality of life of Muslim OSY and adults. It has components, namely; Basic Literacy Program + ALIVE; Accreditation & Equivalency (A&E) Program + ALIVE; Informal Education + ALIVE; Technical Vocational Education Program + ALIVE; and Entrepreneurship Development + ALIVE.
Program for Hearing Impairment:
Alternative Learning System for Differently-Abled Persons (ALS-DAP)
The Alternative Learning System for Differently-Abled Persons (ALS-DAP) is a project which aims to deliver Basic Literacy Program to the special/differently-abled children/OSYs/adults, e.g., hearing impaired learners who have not availed of/have no access to the formal school system through specialized approaches, e.g., sign language.
Program for Adolescents:
Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH)
The Adolescent Reproductive Health is a project for out-of-school adolescents ages 9-24 years old. It is a life skills-based education program for adolescents who are in high-risky behavior, sex-related or non-sex related behavior.
Program for Parents:
The Parent Education is an informal education which is a life skills short-term course that addresses the special needs and interests of the parents to promote pride in their work and ownership of their responsibilities as members of the family and their community.
Program for Poor Families:
Family Basic Literacy Program (FBLP)
This is a literacy service learning intervention utilizing literate family members to help non-literate members upgrade their literacy skills and improve the educational opportunities of poor families in the depressed, deprived and underserved (DDU) areas.
Radio-Based Instruction (RBI)
The Radio-Based Instruction (RBI) Program is an alternative learning delivery mode using radio broadcast to deliver the ALS programs. As a form of distance learning, it is able to expand access to education by bringing it to where the learners are. It aims to provide learning opportunities to listeners and enable them to acquire equivalency in basic education through the broadcast of lessons.
Program for Disadvantaged Children:
Informal Education for Disadvantaged Children
This program focuses on packaging of short-term educational activity that addresses the special needs and interests of the street and working children. It intends to use life skills active learning approaches/strategies aimed at developing/enhancing social, civic, aesthetic, cultural, recreational physical and personal development. The learning materials/packages may be developed/adopted/adapted or gathered from other sources and tailored-fit to the identified needs of the said users.