President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Alternative Learning System Act, or Republic Act (RA) No. 11510, which will formally establish a learning system that is different from the traditional classroom-based method prevalent in the country before the coronavirus pandemic.
Under RA 11510, the Department of Education (DepEd), in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management and the Civil Service Commission, shall create teaching positions and allocate corresponding salary grades to push forward the ALS Teachers Program, which in turn will lead to the creation of alternative learning systems in the Philippines.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, had said the measure would benefit millions of “out-of-school children in special cases” and adults who want to complete their basic education.
He was referring to out-of-school children of official school age who are not enrolled in elementary or secondary schools due to economic, geographic, political, and cultural factors, and even social or physical barriers.
ALS utilizes 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.
In comparison to the formal education system, ALS is a non-formal education that happens outside the classroom, and could be community-based, 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.
According to the May 2018 Philippines Education Note by the World Bank, 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, there were 738,929 learners enrolled in ALS. SOVEREIGNPH