Is education a right or a privilege?
We’ve probably heard this question asked a million times, and a million times do we assert ourselves in saying that education is a right that everyone should be given—regardless of race, religion, gender, and economic background.
For over three decades already, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been providing learning opportunities through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) for people who couldn’t undergo formal education. Some may be financially-challenged, others living in far-flung communities with no schools nearby. By following a mix of non-formal and informal way of teaching, any barangay hall, community center or vacant room can be a place of learning as long as there’s one student who is willing to learn. Are you interested to take an ALS course?
Here are the two major programs you can choose from:
Basic Literacy Program (BLP)
Not everyone might be able to get a college diploma, much more a doctorate degree, but everyone should be given the opportunity to learn basic literacy such as reading and writing. With the adoption of the K-12 in the country, the ALS program adjusted its BLP curriculum in a way that teaches students skills and competencies they’ll need to be at par with elementary and high school graduates once they finish the program.
K-12 Learning Strands under the BLP include:
- Communication Skills (Filipino and English)
- Scientific Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills
- Mathematical and Problem-Solving Skills
- Life and Career Skills
- Understanding the Self and Society
- Digital Literacy
The Continuing Education Program (CEP)
One of the core messages of the ALS project is to give people a second shot at education. While some can’t attend formal schools due to circumstances, there’s no reason why they can’t learn and be educated too. Being particular to out-of-school youths, people with disabilities, indigenous groups and other minorities, the CEP redefines what ‘learning never stops’ means by providing education in a more flexible setup for learners.
PS. Did we mention senior citizens are also welcome? Yup, age doesn’t matter!
What’s next after taking an ALS course?
After finishing the program, ALS students will be given a test called the Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency (ALS A&E) Test. When passed, this certifies that their competencies are already at par with students who graduate from formal schools. They then will be given a DepEd-certified diploma they can use to further their studies should they choose to enroll in a high school or college university.
Who’s qualified to enroll in the ALS courses?
The ALS project is intended for those who neither attended nor finished elementary or high school in a formal school. To give focus on those who need it the most, ALS limits its coverage to students who aren’t enrolled in a classroom setup. If you fit the description, then you’re most welcome to apply! Just prepare your birth certificate and form 137 (if applicable) and visit the nearest DepEd office to get you started.
We long for a time when education no longer has to be asked whether it’s a right or privilege. But while we are still on our way to achieve quality education for all, we can just take every opportunity right now to learn and be educated. For some, it could be taking an ALS course. Others, sharing this opportunity to your family and friends. Which one are you?