I JUST finished the masonry component of my home project and will again continue with the other wood and metal works in succeeding breaks or weekends. I learned carpentry not from YouTube but through years of observing people engaged in the industry. I call it Life Skills.
In my recent column, I wrote about the technical and vocational schools that Filipinos can avail especially on the various skills that employers from the global workplace demand. For those who were not privileged to finish their basic schooling due to financial, geographic or even tragic reasons but would later want to finish their elementary and high school, there is an offered alternative learning system offered in the country.
The Department of Education offers a parallel learning system that provides a practical option that substitutes the existing formal instruction for those who cannot access formal education in schools. This alternate learning system or ALS includes both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills and I have seen graduates who availed the program when I was the President of the Baguio City based Save Our School Children Foundation.
The DepEd in its website points out that many Filipinos do not have a chance to attend and finish formal basic education due to many reasons and many drop out from schools while others do not have schools in their communities.
As enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, every Filipino has the right to education and the law provides for the recognition and promotion of other forms of education other than formal education to out-of-school children, youth and even adults and I have seen parents who also availed the program.
So how does it work? Accordingly, 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 anyplace, depending on the convenience and availability of the learners.
Compared to formal education which is classroom-based, ALS Non-formal Education happens outside the classroom, community-based, usually conducted at community learning centers, Barangay multi-purpose hall, libraries and non-government-organizations like our SOSCFI with ALS learning facilitators. There are also mobile teachers, district ALS coordinators and instructional managers who can reach out to enrolled ALS classes at an agreed venue and schedule.
In a recent national forum held in Makati this year with the theme "No One Left Behind: Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines - Hindsight, Insights and Foresights," the implementation of the ALS is expected to be better in the coming months as the government put premium on skills development program as part of th e curriculum in June.
I am hopeful that there will be more competencies that are focused on life skills other than the three Rs.