Senate approves alternative learning system bill

WITH 22 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention, the Senate on Monday, May 4, approved on final reading a bill institutionalizing the alternative learning system (ALS) in basic education for out-of-school youth, adults and children in special extreme cases.

Senate Bill 1365 also seeks to establish an ALS Community Learning Center in every city and municipality in the country.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, principal author of the bill and chairman of the committee on basic education arts and culture, said putting up ALS learning centers will give more Filipinos outside the formal school system a second chance to complete their basic education.

ALS refers to non-formal education that happens outside the classroom and is usually conducted at community learning centers, barangay multi-purpose halls or at home at an agreed schedule and venue between the learners and learning facilitators for free.

“ALS is the Department of Education's (DepEd) parallel learning system for those who cannot access formal education due to economic, geographic, political, cultural, and social barriers, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, children in conflict with the law, persons deprived of liberty, migrant workers, and other marginalized sectors of the society,” Gatchalian said.

The bill proposes a system that uses a mix of learning modalities required under the “new normal” such as digital learning, modular instruction, and radio and television-based instruction to help ensure the safety of learners.

This is timely during this public health crisis causes by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Gatchalian said in a statement following the approval of the bill Monday.

"The ALS Act is, in its very essence, a bill about second chances. It is a bill about providing opportunities for a better life to our fellow Filipinos who have fallen into hard times," said Gatchalian.

He cited a World Bank document in May 2018, which said that at least 24 million Filipinos aged 15 and above have not completed basic education. The same report said that an additional 2.4 million children aged 5 to 14 were not in school.

In 2019, Gatchalian said there were 738,929 learners enrolled in ALS.

The ALS bill also seeks to establish the Bureau of Alternative Education (BAE), which will serve as the focal office for the implementation of ALS.

Such a bureau was dissolved in and its functions were integrated in other bureaus of the DepEd.

The bill further mandates the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to create teaching positions for ALS teachers.

There were 10,214 ALS learning facilitators in 2019, including mobile teachers, district ALS coordinators, and literacy volunteers. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.