Press Release
October 6, 2020

ALS ratified; Gatchalian assures education for out-of-school children, adults to continue amid pandemic woes

Senator Win Gatchalian lauded the Senate's ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed measure institutionalizing the Alternative Learning System (ALS).

Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, hailed the ratification of the reconciled versions of the Senate and the Lower House as a step closer for millions of 'out-of-school children in special cases' and adults to complete their basic education.

Compared to a formal education system where teachers teach in the classrooms at a strictly implemented time period, in an ALS setting, ALS Teachers, Community ALS Implementors, and Learning Facilitators deliver a range of ALS programs to all out-of-school children in special cases and adults, including those who reside in the unreached, underserved, conflict-affected communities, and communities in emergency situations. Under the proposed measure, every city and municipality will have their own ALS Community Learning Centers (CLCs).

Out-of-school children in special cases are children in the official school age who are not enrolled in the elementary or secondary schools due to special cases such as economic, geographic, political, and cultural factors, even social barriers. These include learners with disabilities or conditions, Indigenous Peoples, children in conflict with the law, and other marginalized sectors.

The lawmaker stressed that considering the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on access to education, institutionalizing and strengthening ALS is crucial in the education sector's efforts to 'build back better.'

The World Bank's May 2018 Philippines Education Note says that at least 24 million Filipinos aged 15 and above have not completed basic education. The report added that an additional 2.4 million children aged 5 to 14 were not in school.

The DepEd noted the national enrollment data as of September 28 showed there were only 393, 163 enrollees under the ALS program nationwide. The number is significantly lower compared to last year's enrollment rate reaching 738,929.

To help strengthen the ALS Teachers Program, the DepEd, in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), shall create teaching positions and allocate corresponding salary grades. ALS Teachers will also be entitled to promotion to the next higher levels based on the qualification standards of the CSC.

"Kung tuluyang maisabatas ang panukalang ito, masisiguro natin na ang pangalawang pagkakataong ibibigay natin sa ating mga kababayan ay talagang makatutulong upang matupad nila ang kanilang mga pangarap na magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan," Gatchalian said.

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Programang Alternative Learning System kasado na

Ipinagbunyi ni Senador Win Gatchalian ang pag-ratipika ng Senado sa bicameral conference committee report sa panukalang batas na layong paigitingin ang pagpapatupad ng Alternative Learning System o ALS.

Para sa Chairman ng Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, ang ratipikasyon ng bicam report ay isang hakbang upang lalo pang maabot ang milyung-milyong mga Pilipinong hindi nakapagtapos ng high school, kabilang ang mga' out-of-school children in special cases'.

Ang mga 'out-of-school children in special cases' ay mga batang nasa tamang gulang para makapag-aral ngunit hindi makapasok sa mga paaralan dahil sa mga sagabal na dulot ng ekonomiya, kultura, at iba pang mga kadahilanan. Kabilang dito ang mga mag-aaral na may kapansanan, mga Indigenous Peoples, yung mga tinaguriang 'children in conflict with the law', at iba pang kabilang sa tinatawag na marginalized sectors.

Kung ihahambing sa pormal na sistema ng edukasyon na mayroong nakatakdang oras ng pagtuturo ang mga guro, sa ALS, mayroong tinatawag na ALS Teachers, Community ALS Implementors, at Learning Facilitators na sumasadya sa mga komunidad para magturo lalo na sa mga nakatira sa malalayong lugar, conflict-affected communities, at mga komunidad na nasa emergency situations. Layon ng panukalang batas na magtatag ng sariling ALS Community Learning Centers o ALS CLCs ang bawat lungsod at munisipalidad sa bansa.

Ayon sa mambabatas, mahalaga ang papel ng ALS sa pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon mula sa pinsalang dulot ng COVID-19 pandemic. Mabibigyan nito aniya ng pangalawang pagkakataon na ipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral ng mga bata at matatanda na huminto sa pag-aaral.

Lumalabas sa isang pag-aaral ng World Bank na dalawampu't apat (24) na milyong Pilipino na may edad na labing-lima (15) pataas ang hindi nakapagtapos ng high school, habang mahigit dalawang (2.4) milyong mga batang may edad na lima (5) hanggang labing-apat (14) ang hindi nag-aaral.

Ayon naman sa datos ng DepEd noong Setyembre 28, halos apat na raang libong (393,163) mag-aaral ang nag-enroll sa ALS, mahigit kalahati lamang ng mahigit pitong daang libong (738,929) nagpatala noong nakaraang taon.

Samanatala, upang mapatatag naman ang ALS Teachers Program, makikipagtulungan ang DepEd sa Department of Budget and Management (DBM) at Civil Service Commission (CSC) sa paglikha ng mga teaching positions na may kaakibat na salary grades. Maaari ring makatanggap ang mga ALS Teachers ng promotion base sa mga pamantayan ng CSC.

"Kung tuluyang maisabatas ang panukalang ito, masisiguro natin na ang pangalawang pagkakataong ibibigay natin sa ating mga kababayan ay talagang makatutulong upang matupad nila ang kanilang mga pangarap na magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan," ani Gatchalian.

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