Ideally, all Filipinos get their basic education from teachers in a classroom setting. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to get this experience. This is why the government implemented the Alternative Learning System (ALS). This system is open to mostly primary and secondary school drop-outs, out-of-school youths, non-readers, working individuals and even senior citizens who are interested in either brushing up or developing new skills. Classes are conducted in community learning centers, multipurpose halls, and at home by ALS facilitators.
Why does the Philippines have the Alternative Learning System?
Basically, the Department of Education recognized the need to give more opportunities to those who have no means to attend formal education. In fact, there are a lot of Filipinos that failed to complete basic education because of financial constraints, personal challenges, or other reasons. So this is a way that our government fulfills its promise of providing access to educational opportunities regardless of their economic or personal status.
What is the difference between formal school and ALS?
Unlike the formal education system where school teachers teach within the four corners of a classroom at a strictly implemented time period, the modules used in the ALS are taught by ALS learning facilitators, mobile teachers, district ALS coordinator, and instructional managers in places like barangay halls, private homes, community centers and even libraries. Another key difference is the flexibility of the sessions as they are scheduled based on the students’ availability.
How does the ALS work?
There are actually two major programs being offered through the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), namely: the Basic Literacy Program (BLP) and the Continuing Education Program – Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E). In a nutshell, the BLP allows students to develop skills in reading, writing, and numeracy and is open to both children and adults. While through the A&E program, elementary and high school dropouts are able to complete their basic education. The programs are modular and designed to be flexible to varying students’ needs. Upon completion of the programs, students are required to go through the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency test. If passed, they are then awarded a diploma to certify their competencies which would allow them to either work or pursue further studies.
What are other special programs offered through the ALS?
Aside from the two major programs mentioned, there are also a number of programs for different subgroups such as the Indigenous Peoples Education for tribal communities in provinces like Ilocos, Quezon, and Zambales. Muslim Migrants also have a program catered specifically for them called Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE). People who suffer from hearing disorders are also supported through the Alternative Learning System for Differently-abled Persons (ALS-DAP) where lectures are conducted using sign language.
Did this story make you more curious about free learning opportunities offered in the country? Be sure to check out more articles on Edukasyon.ph to learn more about education opportunities in the Philippines!