The Alternative Learning System (ALS) is a program of the Department of Education in the Philippines that provides opportunities for out-of-school youths and adults to achieve literacy and academic skills. It is a ladderized, modular, non-formal education program. ALS is the biggest second-chance education program in the country. In the last 10 years, 5.5 million learners were served.
Currently, the Alternative Learning System consists of three different programs: the Basic Literacy Program, the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) program and the Continuing Education Program – Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E). The programs are administered by the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), which is a part of the Department of Education. These are designed to meet the learning needs of students, particularly the disadvantaged and marginalized.
ALS programs are administered by ALS coordinators in each community. ALS sessions can be held in the home, the barangay hall, or the public school. Classes are conducted by ALS facilitators or instructional managers, who use various modes of delivery.
The Alternative Learning System is a comprehensive program that serves all types of learners. For out-of-school youths, it provides a second chance at schooling. Meanwhile, for adults, it gives them opportunities to get a high school or elementary diploma. There are also programs for senior citizens and migrant workers.
As a part of the Philippine Education Reform Act, the Alternative Learning System was institutionalized. Initially, it was offered in Bagong Silang urban slum. Today, it is offered across the country in 4,467 community learning centers. Although it has experienced many challenges, it is still a viable second-chance program.
Unlike formal education, alternative learning system is a flexible schedule. Students can choose the time and place of the classes. However, students who wish to enroll in A&E programs must take a government-sponsored test. Depending on the result, they may move on to the Senior High School or college level.
In the past decade, ALS has provided opportunities for 5.5 million Filipino learners. However, the program has encountered difficulties and must continue to be improved to reach its full potential. In 2015, the program enrolled less than 10% of the population in the country. Despite this, ALS has been successful in improving the quality of life for a lot of out-of-school youths.
The government of the Philippines, under President Rodrigo Duterte, has committed to provide quality, free basic education to all Filipinos. The country is also one of the signatories of the global campaign for education for all. This is a call to eradicate illiteracy and improve access to education. Additionally, the government plans to raise the rate of literacy.
To promote the effectiveness of the ALS program, the Bureau of Alternative Learning System is setting up the Informal Education Curriculum. This will include life experiences programs. Moreover, it will also promote lifelong learning in all streams of education.
The ALS curriculum includes a special curriculum for indigenous people. Likewise, the program has also introduced a program for hearing impaired learners. Also, the program has a program for Entrepreneurship Development.