By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday announced that the learners under Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program can now access its online educational platform so they can continue their studies during the enhanced community quarantine period.
Issuing a statement, DepEd said that aside from learners in the formal education system, out-of-school youth and adult (OSYA) learners under the ALS program can also benefit from the DepEd Commons, an online platform for public school teachers to support distance learning modalities launched last March 17.
With ALS learners catering to OSYA learners, DepEd assistant secretary for ALS G.H. Ambat explained that the online platform is “reinforcing the program’s objective of offering education anytime and anywhere suitable” for the learners.
“In this time of uncertainty, we are glad that through DepEd Commons, our learners will still be able to continue learning,” Ambat said. “It is critical for us to provide them with more options to learn,” she added.
Ambat added that through digital platforms like DepEd commons, ALS continued to live up to “expectation of being the second chance education program that equips OSYAs to become productive contributors to nation building.”
DepEd data showed that there is a total of 777,044 ALS learners under Basic literacy level or elementary and secondary. The ALS content were already included in the DepEd Commons last March 23.
Meanwhile, undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio noted that the DepEd Commons is a “big step” as the department looks for alternative ways to continue education for all types of learners despite the challenges. “Allowing even our ALS learners to access our DepEd Commons is another big step in making learning happen even in the midst of the enhanced community quarantine,” he said.
Currently, DepEd is populating the content of DepEd Commons while starting to put relevant contents aligned with the needs of ALS learners.
As of April 1, DepEd Commons has a total of 2,614, 605 unique users since its soft launch last March 14. With face-to-face instruction impossible during this crisis, DepEd encourages the use of DepEd Commons as an option only for those who have access to internet and equipment such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
The Open Educational Resources (OERs) in DepEd Commons are authored by public school teachers who are subject experts, properly cited and acknowledged. Teachers can retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the content to their students.
“In all other areas where there are signals coming from the telecommunications company, all of these schools are being readied now to have access online so that we could provide them with the appropriate technology and platform that they would be needing,” undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua said.
“We have longed for the time when suspension of classes will not in any way obstruct nor delay the education of our school children,” Pascua said. “Whenever we experience typhoons, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and armed siege, we worry about the lost days and opportunities for the next generation’s education,” he added.
Despite certain limitations, Pascua assured that DepEd will “continuously improve the online educational platform to be accessible and useful to all learners.”