Believing that it will further address access, equity, and quality in education, a network of education advocates commended the passage of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Act.
E-Net Philippines, a network of 130 organizations, lauded the passing of Republic Act 11510 otherwise known as ALS Act. As an education network advocating for reforms to make the right to education a reality especially to the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors, E-Net actively participated in the Technical Working Group meetings and hearings in the Senate and Congress to lobby for the passage of a law that will institutionalize the ALS.
ALS, a program implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd), is a parallel learning system to formal education that provides a viable alternative and second chance education to out-of-school youth and adults, learners with disabilities, indigenous people, disadvantaged girls and women, children in conflict and disaster situations and those who have been deprived of education.
Based on the World Bank’s May 2018 Philippines Education Note, at least 24 million Filipinos, aged 15 and above, were not able to complete their basic education. This is about 25% of the population.
For school year 2020-2021, data from DepEd showed that only 405,902 are enrolled or 54.86% as compared to last school year enrollment of 739,872 in the ALS.
E-Net noted that the ALS budget was pegged at P 500 million which is about PHP 4,732 per learner. There are 9,535 ALS teachers at present or a ratio of 88 learners:1 teacher.
With the ALS Act, E-Net hopes to address the issues on access, equity, and quality in education. The law provides the creation of Bureau of Alternative Education (BAE), expansion of teachers programs that will increase the numbers of ALS teachers and enhance their training, and provide them with transportation and teaching allowances. Community Learning Centers (CLCs) will be established in every municipality and city and there will be no collection of fees.
“Improving access and quality of education contributes to socio-economic growth. In a 2018 WB study, 57% of ALS passers pursue higher education that will give them a chance to have better work, and 71% of ALS passers are already employed and have full time work,” E-Net said.
Following the enactment of the ALS Act, E-Net commended “all who worked” to make it possible including civil society organizations (CSOs), ALS advocates and practitioners, ALS teachers, Instructional Managers, Community Facilitators, learners and ALS champions in the government -both in the legislative and executive bodies.