By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In line with its efforts to improve the quality of non-formal education in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) will soon roll out the enhanced Alternative Learning System (ALS) curriculum.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Order No. 003, 2019, announced the roll out of the “ALS Version 2.0” which will be “substantially different from the existing ALS Program.” She also announced the creation of the ALS Task Force and its members led by DepEd Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat with Dr. Marillete Almayda as the Task Force Head.
DepEd noted that a “strengthened and expanded” ALS is identified “as one of the major enhancements” to the K to 12 Basic Education Program of the government. It is also included in the 10-point agenda of DepEd under Briones’ leadership entitled “Quality, Accessible, Relevant and Liberating Basic Education for All” which was released in November 2016.
Briones noted that the “starting point” of “strengthening” the ALS is the development of the ALS K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum aligned to the formal K to 12 curriculum. “As the blueprint for the design of the ALS programming, the new ALS curriculum requires substantive changes to the other system components of ALS,” she explained.
These changes will also be applied to the learning materials, learning delivery system, learning environment, and learner assessment and certification system. Briones explained that there will also be changes in the system support components of ALS which include capacity building, financial management, advocacy, social mobilization, and partnership strategy.
Currently, Briones said that DepEd “is now engaged in rolling out” a new version of the ALS curriculum. Apart from this, she noted that “a comprehensive five-year ALS Roadmap has been developed” under the supervision of Ambat, who has been assigned to oversee the ALS Program.
ALS TASK FORCE
Briones directed the creation of the ALS Task Force “in order to provide a coordinated leadership of ALS as a priority program” of the DepEd and to “ensure continued delivery of inclusive, accessible, relevant and liberating learning opportunities to out-of-school children, youth, and adults.”
The ALS taskforce, Briones explained, “will act as a focal point for the coordination and integration of the range of activities under the ALS roadmap towards the full development and operationalization of the new ALS 2.0 program.”
Among the functions of the ALS task force, is to carry out “operational planning for the roll-out of the ALS System upgrading activities envisioned in the ALS 5-year roadmap” and to “provide technical leadership, direction and coordination ALS 2.0 developmental activities.”
It is also expected to “formulate, review, and revise ALS enabling policies and guidelines for the enhanced ALS 2.0 program implementation” and “lead the development of learning a delivery framework and pilot testing of programmatic innovations and delivery models including portfolio assessment.”
The ALS Task Force is also expected to lead the development of learning a delivery framework and pilot testing of the new ALS 2.0 program as well as its monitoring and evaluation.
Other tasks include leading the capacity building of ALS field personnel and the advocacy and social marketing rollout of the ALS 2.0 Program; oversee the ALS certification process; conduct evidence-based research of the ALS program development and improvement; set minimum quality standards and benchmarks to guide quality assurance of the new ALS program; and conduct other activities related to the ALS program – among others.
DepEd data showed that there were 691, 461 enrollees in the ALS Program with 449, 485 completers in 2016. In 2017, a total of 641, 584 enrolled but only 443, 132 completed the program. In 2018, there were 823, 301 enrollees in the ALS Program.