Most Frequently Asked Questions about Alternative Learning System (ALS) Go to the people Live among the people Eat with the people Start with what the people know Build on what the people have Teach by knowing Learn by doing, Not to conform But to transform Not relief, But release What is alternative learning system or ALS? It is a parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction. When one does not have or cannot access formal education in schools. ALS is an alternate or substitute. ALS includes both the nonformal and informal sources of knowledge and skills. Why is there a need for alternative learning system in the Philippines? Many Filipinos do not have a chance to attend and finish basic education (Grades 1-6 and Year 1-4) due to may reasons. Some drop out from schools while some do not have schools in their communities. Since every Filipino has a right to free basic education, the Government set-up ALS to provide all Filipinos the chance to have access to and complete basic education in a made that fits their distinct situations and needs. What is the basis of ALS implementation in the Philippines? The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides for the recognition and promotion of other forms of education other than formal education. Article XIV, Section 2, Paragraph (1) declares that the State shall establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society; and paragraph (4) concisely encourages nonformal, informal and indigenous learning systems as well as self-learning, independent and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs. How does ALS work? There are two major programs on ALS that are being implemented by the Department of Education. One is Basic Literacy Program and Continuing Education ProgramAccreditation and Equivalency System. Both programs are modular and flexible. This means that learning can take place anytime and any place, depending on the convenience and availability of the learners. What is the difference between the Formal School System and the ALS? ALS is flexible. It is an anytime, anywhere learning. It uses interactive modules and learning sessions are usually conducted at community learning centers at an agreed schedule between the learners and the facilitator. What is curriculum used in the ALS? The teaching and learning process and materials in the ALS are based on the Alternative Learning System curriculum that is comparable to the formal school curriculum and reflects the set of skills and competencies that learners should develop to meet the minimum requirements of basic education. Who are the target learners in the ALS? ALS is intended for Out-of-School Youth and Adults who are 16 years old or older and beyond basic school age that need basic literacy skills particularly in reading. Writing and simple computation. These people are usually located in far-flung communities with no or limited, access for formal schools. 1. In 2004, it was estimated that 16 million or 20% of the total Philippine population were either school drop-outs or stay-outs. This population is considered the target groups of the alternative learning system. Presently, it is estimated that 12 million children of school-age are not in school which is about the same number as those in-school. 2. 3. The first priority of ALS are the 10.5 million 16 years old and above. Meanwhile, the aggregated 5.2 million target learners that are comprised of the 6-11 years old (1.8 million) and 12-15 (3.9 million) years old are its second priority. Specifically, this group of marginalized learners consists of street children, indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolks, women, adolescents, solo parents, children in conflict areas not reached by the formal school system, rebel returnees, and others. Who delivers the ALS? ALS is either DepEd-delivered or DepEd procured . Other than DepEd, many organizations and individuals deliver the ALS. This program delivery is called Non-DepEd. • DepEd-delivered refers to the implementation arrangement where program is directly carriedout by DepEd ALS implementers such as the ALS Mobile Teachers and ALS District Coordinators. • DepEd-procured refers to the implementation arrangement where program is contracted by DepEd to service providers such as nongovernment organizations and other government organizations. • Non-DepEd refers to the implementation of ALS Programs by non-DepEd organizations such as Local Government Units (LGUs). Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other Government Organizations (GOs). International donor agencies, church-based organizations and others. How does learning intervention take place in ALS? The ALS Mobile Teacher or a learning facilitator goes to a sitio or barangay with a set of learning materials to conduct learning sessions until such time that the learners have become literate before going to another sitio or barangay. However, depending on the need of the learners, the ALS Mobile Teacher goes back to a sitio or barangay for visitation and follow up. Most of the time, instead of the learners going to the community learning center, the ALS Mobile Teachers brings the learning materials to the learners to help them acquire basic literacy skills or continuing education. Where do learning sessions take place? Learning sessions take place at the Community Learning Center or at any place convenient to the learners. Teaching and learning may take place at the homes of the learners, under the shades of trees, inside a church or mosque, playground and any other available space and venue. What materials are used in the ALS? The ALS utilizes learning modules. Each modules is complete in itself. It contains the objectives and description of the module, learning activities, pre and post test. Modules for the basic and lower elementary learners come with a facilitator’s guide. Meanwhile, modules for advanced elementary and secondary were designed for self-learning. In the conduct of ALS sessions, use of supplementary learning materials is being encouraged particularly those that are developed by the Facilitator to suit the local need and context and are locally available. In partnership with various organizations, both local and international, the DepEd-BALS was able to adapt and or produce print and non-print learning materials to supplement the existing modules in the conduct of ALS learning sessions. Supplementary materials are important in the conduct of ALS learning sessions. Additional materials make learning sessions more effective by reinforcing newly acquired literacy skills. They also serve as springboards to a new lesson, thus, making learning more fun and interesting. Use of multi-media also gives both Facilitators and learners chance to access new information and technology and activates multi-sensory learning. What are the areas of learning in the ALS? The learning areas in the ALS are called learning strands which are the equivalent of the “subjects” in the formal school system. These learning strands are: 1. Communication skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) 2. Problem-solving and critical thinking (ability to earn a living through self employment, outside employment, entrepreneurship, sustainable use of resources and appropriate technology and productivity) 3. Development of self and a sense of community (self-development, a sense of personal and national history and identity, cultural pride and recognition and understanding of civil and political rights. 4. Expanding one’s world vision (knowledge, respect and appreciation for diversity, peace and non-violent resolution of conflict, and global awareness and solidarity) Is there an entrance test in the ALS? The potential learner in the ALS goes through a screening process to determine whatever past learning that he/she may have. This assessment will assist the Learning Facilitator to setup a teaching and learning plan for a particular learner. The DepED-BALS developed on instrument this process of assessment called the Functional Literacy Test (FLT). This FLT is a new version developed in 2006 to standardized assessment instruments in all ALS programs. The new FLT gives the entry assessment in the ALS programs a new picture altogether. The new FLT is composed of five (5) parts. These are 1) The Demographic Information Sheet (DIS), 2) Listening and Speaking, 3) Reading 4) Writing, and 5) Numeracy. What is the difference between nonformal education and informal education? To reach this marginalized group of learners, BALS implements nonformal and informal education or education that takes place outside the formal school system. Republic Act 9155 defines Nonformal Education as “any organized, systematic educational activity carried outside the framework of the formal system to provide selected types of learning of a segment of the population”. On the other hand, Informal Education is defined as “a lifelong process of learning by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences at home, at work, at play and from life itself:” BALS carries out two Nonformal Education Programs: a) Basic Literacy Program (BLP) for illiterates b) Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) System for elementary and high school drop-outs. BALS is currently setting up the Informal Education Curriculum that will include self-interest and life experiences programs. Initially, it has already developed a special curriculum for indigenous people (IPs). With this construct, greater learning needs will be addressed and funneled to promote lifelong learning in all streams of education.