House approves Alternative Learning System bill

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

May 18, 2018, 3:00 pm

MANILA -- The House of Representatives has unanimously approved on final reading a measure seeking to institutionalize the alternative learning system (ALS).

According to a statement Friday, the lower chamber, voting 176-0, passed House Bill 7392 or the proposed Alternative Learning System Act, which aims to make education more accessible for out-of-school youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized sectors of society, as well as underserved communities.

The ALS is a parallel learning system encompassing informal, non-formal, and indigenous lessons as an alternative to the existing formal education. It is tailored for individuals who are constrained by time, physical, economic, and other factors, from attending the traditional classroom setting.

The bill seeks the establishment of at least one ALS Community Center in each municipality and city in the country and shall be placed in a conducive learning and accessible environment.

The Department of Education (DepEd) shall be tasked to prescribe the number of session hours or days required for the completion of the ALS programs.

Under the bill, the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency (ALS A&E) Test shall be in paper and pencil test designed and administered by DepEd to measure the competencies of those who have neither attended nor finished elementary or secondary education in the formal school system.

Passers of the ALS A&E Test are given a certificate or diploma bearing the DepEd seal, and the signature of the Secretary of Education, certifying their competencies as comparable graduates of the formal school system.

Those who complete the ALS are qualified to enroll in junior high school or senior high school education.

Apart from DepEd, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment will also be mandated to promote technical vocational education and training programs and gainful employment opportunities for ALS passers.

The bill also requires DepEd to hire ALS mobile teachers, literacy volunteers, and instructional managers to serve as ALS learning facilitators to augment the manpower resources needed in implementing the ALS programs nationwide. (PNA)