By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In line with its efforts to intensify and expand its parallel learning system, the Department of Education (DepEd) launched the Alternative Learning System-Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST) Program Handbook for Implementers.
To guide implementers in navigating the ALS-EST Program, the DepEd – with support from the Australian Government through the Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) Program, launched the ALS-EST Handbook for Implementers at the SEAMEO Innotech in Quezon City recently.
DepEd Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan, who supervises the program under the Office of the Secretary, noted the highlights of the handbook and how it forms part of the Department’s commitment to intensify and expand the regular ALS Program – which is considered a centerpiece of basic education under the Duterte administration.
“Reading through the pre-final draft of the handbook, I realized that there is no mention of any values we promote in ALS-EST ─ it is presumed to be embedded in the curriculum,” Malaluan said. “But in addition to the values built into the DepEd curriculum in general, and beyond knowledge and skills that is the focus of ALS-EST, I felt we also need to articulate attitudes and values that implementers and learners, working together as a community, will nurture as part of identity building,” he added.
A total of 150 copies of the handbook were distributed to stakeholders who contributed to its completion and production during the event. Consisting of 14 chapters, the handbook provides a summary of the challenge to reach OSYs and adults who were not able to complete basic education; a discussion of the ALS-EST Program, including its learners, curriculum, learning resources, learning delivery, learning facilitators, assessment and certification; and other aspects of the program.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service (PAS) and ALS Program and Task Force G.H. Ambat seconded the commitment and further commended the initiative to improve the capacity of ALS implementers to progress with the program.
“The ALS-EST Handbook is one of the many testaments to our partners’ unwavering support to the ALS and to quality basic education as a whole,” Ambat said. “It gives our implementers the convenience of understanding the program and how to effectively deliver it to our out-of-school youth and adults,” she added.
The ALS-EST is a complementary program to the mainstream ALS, the parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction. Currently in its pilot implementation, ALS-EST aims to holistically prepare learners for various exits, such as higher education, middle-level skills development, entrepreneurship, and employment by integrating a skills training component with the basic education component.
Joining Malaluan and Ambat in the launching were DepEd Region I Director Malcolm Garma, Tuloy Foundation’s Education Management Group Head Fr. Sylvester Casaclang, SEAMEO Innotech’s Educational Research and Innovations Office Manager Philip Purnell, and SEAMEO Innotech Center Director Dr. Ramon Bacani.
“Non-formal education is not second-class education, it is a modality, a pathway, and for many learners, a second or even first chance at education. This is the framework and motivation that drives the ALS-EST Program,” Malaluan ended.