Philippines told to upgrade alternative learning system


Education experts from the World Bank (WB) have underscored the urgency to upgrade the country’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) to transform the country’s basic education system amid the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a blog, WB Education specialist Takiko Igarashi, Senior Economist Pablo Acosta, and consultant Nicholas Tenazas said the ALS need a “comprehensive upgrade” that will allow it to obtain more resources and maximize the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

To date, the experts said, ALS teachers are shelling out their own money to support their needs as well as that of their students. Lessons are also conducted face-to-face in simple structures made by light materials, or even under the tree shade.

“This agenda is more important than ever, as Covid-19 disrupts the Philippines’s basic education system. The first priority must be to provide continuing learning opportunities for students and prevent them from dropping out of school,” the authors said.

The WB experts said operational funds for ALS only covered 60 percent of the cost. This often prompts teachers to close the gap using their own resources.

They added that apart from the lack of facilities, many ALS teachers also need to be given continuous professional development to ensure that students are receiving quality education.

However, the experts said, the Department of Education (DepEd) is aware of the challenges and has developed an ALS 2.0 road map with the WB in 2019.

“A stronger ALS can give those who leave the formal school system an extremely important second chance. We hope the lessons learned from our studies will improve the ALS for the Philippines and also help other developing countries that face similar challenges,” the experts said.

The experts explained that ALS is an education system supporting people who, for various reasons, have not received a minimum-desired level of formal education.

A primary component of ALS is the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program, which allows learners to earn official certificates equivalent to regular school diplomas after passing a national exam.

In the last three years, the DepEd reported that on average, 130,000 learners passed the exam annually, a big jump from 58,000 passing per year between 2005 and 2015.

Their previous study found that those who passed earned approximately P7,400 ($148)—or roughly 50 percent more monthly, compared with the average among high-school dropouts.

They were twice as likely to have full-time formal employment compared to those who did not pass the A&E, and 60 percent of ALS learners who passed the A&E secondary-level exam enrolled later in further education and training.

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  1. Hello good day. Interesado po akong mag-aral. 2nd year high school po ako tumigil noong 15 years old po ako sa kadahilanan na problema sa pamilya. At ngayon po ay 43 years old na Po ako at ngayon ko Po nalaman na napakahalaga ang May natapos na kurso.

    Sana po ay mabasa nyo po agad itong message ko. Umaasa, Norie Glinogo

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