Bohol 3rd District Rep. Alexie Besas Tutor has proposed that private school teachers who were laid off during COVID-19 pandemic be tapped and recruited for the Alternative Learning System (ALS) programs.
She made the proposal, after President Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11510 or the ALS Act which institutionalizes a parallel learning system for non-formal sources of knowledge and skills.
“Private school teachers idled or laid off during the pandemic should be recruited for ALS programs,” she said in a statement.
Tutor, a member of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture and one the authors of the new ALS Law, asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure that Grade 6 graduates who are non-readers, barely read or write, have severe deficiencies will benefit from ALS in a program parallel to regular high school.
“If they cannot be helped through regular ALS, then DepEd should create and implement an ALS Special Program for Augmented Learning for high schools admitting many students with learning deficiencies. This special program should have specially-trained teachers,” she said.
“The point is to not unduly burden the regular public high schools with new batches of Grade 7 and Grade 8 students not really ready for high school.”
To address this, she suggested that the small private schools which closed down during this time of pandemic be reopened to implement the ALS Special Program for Augmented Learning. She said all the ALS students should also be considered as Education Service Contracting (ESC) grantees.
Tutor said given that “quality has been lacking in mainstream basic education”, the implementing rules and regulations of the ALS Act must be fine-tuned to benefit all concerned stakeholders.
“I remind DepEd and the other education agencies to make sure the IRR of the law has solid quality assurance and quality control mechanisms,” she said.
“The IRR must not be just a copy of the law itself. The IRR must go into the finer details of how the law must be faithfully executed, hence my reminder on QA/QC (quality assurance, quality control),” she added.
RA No. 11510 mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), to create teaching positions and allocate corresponding salary grades to help strengthen the ALS Teachers Program.
The law entitles the ALS teachers to promotion to the next higher levels based on the CSC’s qualification standards.
Covered by the ALS Act are out-of-school children in special cases or those 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 barriers; learners with disabilities or conditions, indigenous peoples, children in conflict with the law, and other marginalized sectors.