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MODULE 2.

ALTERNATIVE
LEARNING SYSTEM
(ALS)

Teacher Induction Program

Teacher Education Council, Department of Education


Carolina S. Guerrero, Ph. D.
Writer

Bernadette S. Pablo, M. Ed.


In-house Editor

All rights reserved. This module may not be reproduced in any


form without the permission of the Teacher Education Council,
Department of Education.
TEACHER INDUCTION PROGRAM

MODULE 2.2
Alternative Learning System
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction 1

Objectives 2

Historical Context of ALS 2

The ALS and Formal Education 6

Fig. 1 The Two Paths to Basic Education 6

Fig. 2 A Conceptual Framework on the Relationship

between Formal Education and the Alternative

Learning System 7

Major Aspects of Comparison 9

Fig. 3 The Learning Programs 9


Fig. 4 The Setting for Learning 10

Fig. 5 The Teacher 10


Fig. 6 The Age of the Learner 11
Fig. 7 The Curriculum 12
Fig. 8 The Learning Materials 13
Fig. 9 The Teaching Methodology 14
Fig. 10 Assessment of Learning 14

A Note to the Teacher 15

Self-Check Questions 17

Checkpoints 19
TEACHER INDUCTION PROGRAM ALTERNATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM

THE DepED
ALTERNATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM
THE OTHER SIDE OF BASIC EDUCATION

INTRODUCTION
If one were to ask the man on the street what he understands of the word
“education”, almost always, his answer would be “going to school in order to learn”.
To the common man, education is predictably associated with learning that takes
place in schools. This is a general perception historically based on tradition.

In this module, you will know more about another kind of education that does
not need to take place in school but is just as good as formal schooling. This is a
module that will help you understand a new system, the alternative learning system
(ALS) which is provided by the Department of Education to help those who cannot
“go to school to learn” or who do not want to “go to school to learn”. They include
those who have never gone to school and those who have dropped out of school.
Their reasons for staying out of school are varied (e.g. absence of a school in the
community, need to work to augment income, disability, no money for school-related
expenses, gender discrimination, different learning style, etc.), but most of the time,
generally, the reasons are directly linked to poverty. Thus, these are the
marginalized members of our society: the rural and urban poor, prisoners, children in
areas of armed conflict, indigenous peoples, laborers, etc.

As you go through this module, you will encounter words or concepts that will
be defined and explained to facilitate your understanding of ALS. There will also be a
simple historical overview that will give you a perspective of the ALS in Philippine
setting and in the context of global development. Likewise, you will read about the
ALS and its significant features as well as the comparison between formal education
and the ALS.

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TEACHER INDUCTION PROGRAM ALTERNATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM

As a new teacher in the public educational system, you are encouraged to


take some time to be familiar with the ALS through this module. I hope you will get to
be interested enough to undergo a hands-on experience as a teacher in the ALS of
the Department of Education.

Welcome to the other side of basic education!

OBJECTIVES

After completing this module, you should be able to:

ƒ explain how the ALS evolved;

ƒ discuss how ALS compares with formal basic education; and

ƒ describe the major ALS programs and their specific target learners.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF ALS

As always, it is best to trace the source of an educational system such as the


ALS to the basic and fundamental law of the land. The Philippine Constitution
provides for free and compulsory elementary education and free secondary
education through the Department of Education (DepEd). This means that all
Filipinos have a constitutional right to basic education, and the DepEd is mandated
to provide this service to all Filipinos.

In the 80’s, the global community launched a campaign called Education for
All (EFA) that aimed to eradicate illiteracy and promote functional literacy for all
peoples of the world. Our nation was a signatory to this and as such, committed to
providing education for all Filipinos.

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Against this backdrop, the Philippine government put in place the following
legal measures and commitment that serve as basis for the introduction of ALS in
the Philippine educational system:

1. Republic Act 9155: The Governance Act of Basic Education

On June 6, 2001, the Philippine Congress passed a law that defined


the governance of basic education. Among many of its provisions, this
law recognized the ALS as a complement of formal education and a
major component of basic education with a clearly defined role within
the overall educational goals. Moreover, this law operationally defined
these terms:

Nonformal Education (NFE) – is any organized, systematic


educational activity carried outside the framework of the formal
system to provide selected types of learning to a segment of the
population

Informal Education – is 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

Alternative Learning System – is a parallel learning system


that provides a viable alternative to the existing formal education
system. It encompasses both the nonformal and informal
sources of knowledge and skills

Basic Education – is the education intended to meet basic


learning needs and which lays the foundation on which
subsequent learning can be based. It encompasses early
childhood, elementary and high school education as well as
alternative learning systems for children, OSY and adult learners
and for those with special needs.

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In summary, we say:

Basic Education = early childhood education (kindergarten) and


elementary education (Grades 1 – 6) and
secondary education (1st – 4th year) and
ALS (for out-of-school age children, youth, adults and those
with special needs)

Alternative Learning System = Nonformal education (NFE) and


Informal education (IEd)

2. Executive Order No. 356: Renaming the Bureau of Nonformal


Education (BNFE) the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS)

On September 13, 2004, the Office of the President of the Republic of the
Philippines renamed the DepEd’s Bureau of Nonformal Education the Bureau of
Alternative Learning System (BALS) through this Executive Order signed by Her
Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Not only does this Order reiterate
the Bureau’s mandate to address the learning needs of marginalized learners but
also directs BALS to provide a systematic and flexible approach to reach all types of
learners outside the school system.

In addition, the Executive Order spelled out the functions of the BALS. They
include the following:

ƒ To address the learning needs of all marginalized groups including the


deprived, depressed and underserved citizens

ƒ To coordinate with various agencies for skills development of the


learners

ƒ To expand access to educational opportunities for citizens of different


interests, capabilities, demographic characteristics, and socio-
economic origins and status

ƒ To promote certification and accreditation for basic education of


alternative learning programs both nonformal and informal in nature.

In summary, by virtue of this Executive Order, the BALS has been given the
authority to guide the development of the country’s ALS.

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3. Education for All (EFA) Plan by 2015

In 2004, the Philippine government once again committed to participate in the


global campaign for Education for All by the year 2015. In this Plan, one of the major
goals is “transforming all nonformal and informal education interventions into an ALS
to yield more EFA benefits”. This means that the goal is to have in place a credible
ALS (consisting of NFE and Informal Education) that shall increase functional literacy
among the marginalized groups of learners.

To this end, certain tasks will need to be undertaken, namely:

1. Develop and strengthen the DepED’s BALS and mandate it to serve as the
government agency to guide the development of the country’s ALS.

2. Make available public funds for ALS programs of GOs and NGOs subject to
the guidelines of BALS.

3. Build and develop a constituency for ALS development.

4. Conduct research and studies to test cost-effective options for delivering


quality ALS.

5. Undertake an inventory of available resources in localities for literacy


interventions outside schools.

6. Ensure a vigorous and credible system for reliably assessing, measuring,


validating and communicating competencies acquired through NFE and
informal education.

In summary, the EFA Plan for 2015 prescribes urgent tasks


that will guide the Department of Education in fulfilling the spirit of
RA 9155 and EO 356 and ultimately the vision of the Philippine
Constitution. It embodies the various programs, projects and
direction to achieve the goal of quality ALS for Filipino learners.

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THE ALS and FORMAL EDUCATION

FIGURE 1: The Two Paths to Basic Education

Take a look at the figure above. It shows two (2) roads both leading towards
the attainment of basic education. One road is marked “formal education” and it
makes use of schools. The other road is marked “ALS” and it makes use of
community learning centers for out-of-school youth and adults and these centers
may be a barangay hall, a church, a factory, etc. Notice, too, the travelers in the
“formal education” road and those in the “ALS” road. In the former, they are young; in
the latter, they are both young and old.

This illustration suggests that the Filipino can choose to take any of the two
(2) roads to acquire basic education. Further, it suggests that the “ALS” road is open
to anyone regardless of age. What is important, too is that one may attain basic
education even without entering the school system.

Because this is a very simple illustration, it does not explain the other
important features of ALS. Consequently, a conceptual framework on the
relationship between formal education and the ALS is hereby presented. The

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discussion that follows Figure 2 also explains those theoretical aspects that Figure 1
cannot provide.

FIGURE 2. A Conceptual Framework of the Relationship between


Formal Education and the Alternative Learning System

In the context of a lifelong learning goal that the EFA 2015 Plan envisions, it is
significant that a new paradigm of learning has evolved. The paradigm is based on
the assumption that all learning leads towards a common goal of life skills
development that results in employment, social participation and self actualization.
Further, it is assumed that learning may take place in different places under different
conditions, time and environment for different types of learners. Likewise, it is
assumed that learning may be measured and equated no matter when, where or
how it was acquired.

The traditional view of delivering education is through the schools system. But
there is now a recognized parallel and equivalent learning system that provides an
alternative to the school-based system of learning. This alternative learning system
consists of nonformal and informal education both of which develop the

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competencies of the ALS curriculum. The ALS curriculum consists of competencies


equivalent to those found in the formal education curriculum. Both curricula aim to
develop basic and functional literacy skills. The competencies are said to be
comparable although their methodology and content may differ. It is in this light that
the ALS is said to be parallel and comparable to formal education.

The framework presented in Figure 2 reflects this parallel relationship


between the two learning systems: formal education and alternative learning system,
which suggests that because of this comparability, there exists flexibility in both
educational systems that enables a learner to seek and avail of entry and reentry
opportunities in both streams.

The figure also shows that in the context of continuing education, the
educational ladder in both streams promotes corresponding skills development at
basic, middle, and higher levels. But more importantly, the figure suggests that
comparable competencies may be equated and parallel learning’s accredited.

In more concrete terms, take a closer look at both formal education and ALS
and compare and contrast the two in some major aspects, such as, the learning
programs, the setting where learning takes place, the teacher, the age of the learner,
the curriculum, the learning materials, the teaching methodology, and the
assessment of learning for promotion to the next learning level.

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MAJOR ASPECTS OF COMPARISON

Figures 3 to 10 present the major aspects for which comparison is made


between the ALS and formal basic education.

FIGURE 3: Learning Program

Figure 3 shows the learning programs of formal education and those of the
ALS. Specifically, formal basic education consists of elementary education which
covers Grades 1 to 6 and secondary education which covers 4 year levels.

The ALS program on the other hand consists of the Basic Literacy Program
which is a program for the illiterates on basic reading, writing and numeracy skills,
and the Accreditation & Equivalency Program (A&E) which is equivalent to the
elementary and high school programs of formal education and which address the
learning needs of school dropouts or those who have not completed 10 years of
schooling as mandated by the Philippine Constitution.

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FIGURE 4: Setting

FIGURE 4: Setting

Figure 4 presents the setting where learning takes place. In the formal school
system teaching- learning is conducted primarily in the school. On the other hand,
teaching-learning in the ALS occurs in the community learning centers (CLC) which
may either be a barangay hall, church, factory, a reading center, or the home.
Generally, the learners meet in the CLCs as a group according to an agreement they
themselves have set with the facilitator or instructional manager. The rest of the time,
learners take home their learning materials to study at their own time.

FIGURE 5: Teacher

Figure 5 contrasts the teacher in the formal school system with that in the
ALS.

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In formal education, the teacher is called a classroom teacher who is a


professional i.e. licensed to teach (having passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers).
The classroom teacher must be a college graduate with a degree of either BSEd or
BEEd.

In ALS, the teacher of the Basic Literacy Program is called a facilitator who
may be a high school graduate at the very least but must have undergone training as
a facilitator. On the other hand, the teacher in the A&E Program must be at least a
college graduate though not necessarily an Education major but must have
undergone training in ALS.

FIGURE 6: Age of Learner

Figure 6 compares the age of learners in both the formal and ALS System. In
formal education, the age of the learner is prescribed. Thus, age of entry in Grade 1,
is 6-years and the exit age at 4th year high school is 15 years. On the other hand,
there is no age prescribed for learners in the ALS. Oftentimes, learners in the Basic
Literacy Program are adults, while learners in the A&E Program are youth and adults
16 years old and over.

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FIGURE 7: Curriculum
In terms of the curriculum, Figure 7 reflects the parallel curricula of both
learning systems.

Formal education has the Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) while the ALS
has the ALS Curriculum. The learning competencies of both curricula are parallel
and comparable although subject matter or content may differ. This means that both
curricula are meant to develop competencies that are equivalent in nature. While the
BEC curriculum has 5 major subjects English, Science, Math, Filipino, and
Makabayan, the ALS curriculum has 5 learning strands which are lifeskills-oriented
rather than subject-oriented. The 5 learning strands are the following:

- Communication Skills

- Development of Self and A Sense of Community

- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

- Expanding One’s World Vision

- Sustainable Use of Resources/Productivity

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FIGURE 8: Learning Materials

Figure 8 compares the learning materials that are generally used as the main
tools for learning in the two systems of learning. Formal education generally makes
use of textbooks which normally require teachers to facilitate their use.

The ALS meanwhile, generally makes use of printed modules which may be
used by learners with or without the aid of a teacher since the materials are designed
as self-instructional and therefore self-paced. Also, since the subject matter is not
compartmentalized according to subject areas, the modules are said to be
integrated.

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FIGURE 9: Teaching Methodology

One of the basic characteristics that differentiates formal education and ALS
is the teaching methodology. Figure 9 shows that formal education utilizes the
principles of pedagogy or the science of learning among children while the ALS
utilizes the principles of andragogy, the science of adult learning.

FIGURE 10: Assessment of Learning


Promotion to the next Learning Level
Figure 10 compares the measures for assessing learning for promotion to the next
learning level in both systems.

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Formal education generally makes use of end-of-school year achievement


tests for all learning levels starting in Grade 1 to 4th year High School.

The ALS generally makes use of end-of-program tests which may be given at
any time that a learner completes the program. For the Basic Literacy level, this test
is called the Assessment of Basic Literacy (ABL Test) and it measures basic reading,
writing and numeracy skills. For the A&E test, the elementary level learner takes the
A&E Elementary level test and the secondary level learner takes the A&E Secondary
level test. In both cases, the tests measure functional literacy competencies such as
the following:

• communicate effectively

• solve problems scientifically, creatively and think critically

• use resources sustainably and be productive

• develop oneself and a sense of community

• expand one’s world view

A NOTE TO THE TEACHER

As a regular classroom teacher, you will have to observe regular class hours.
But if you also wish to serve the marginalized people in the community (the illiterates
and school dropouts), you may be a teacher to them outside of your regular class
hours, i.e., after class, on weekends, on holidays. You can either be a facilitator of
ALS for the Basic Literacy program for illiterates or an instructional manager for the
Accreditation and Equivalency program for school dropouts as long as you undergo
special training conducted by the local DepEd office in charge of ALS in the District,
Division or Region. When you do serve as an ALS facilitator or instructional
manager, you can earn service credits. This arrangement is provided for in DepEd
Order No. 53 s. 2003 entitled “Updated Guidelines on Grant of Vacation Service
Credits to Teachers” and which states among others:

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Statement of the Policy


The basic policy in the grant of vacation service credit is that it should be given only
for work beyond regular functions or beyond regular work hours/days where payment of
honorarium or overtime pay is not possible. In addition, there are situations wherein
extraordinary work is demanded from teachers including those which expose their lives to
certain risks and for which monetary compensation is not enough. Thus, extra non-
monetary compensation is justified.
Activities Eligible for the Grant of Service Credits
One of the activities eligible for the grant of service credits is teaching in non-formal
education classes in addition to teaching in formal education classes carrying a normal
teaching load.
Procedure in the Grant of Service Credits
The following steps shall be followed in the grant of service credits:
a.1 Head of office/school recommends approval of request to render vacation
service
a.2 Schools Division Superintendent approves/disapproves request
a.3 If reason for request is not among those listed above, request should be
forwarded to theRegional Director for action if activity is region-wide and to
theCentral Office through theRegional Director if activity is DepEd-wide. For
attendance/participation in DepEd-wide programs and projects, the Central
Office shall make the necessary issuances on the grant of vacation service
credits.
Other Rules
The following rules shall also apply in the grant or use of service credits:
a. One work day of vacation service credit is granted for one day (eight hours) of
service;
b. The number of days of vacation service credits granted to a teacher shall not
exceed 15 work days in one year except in cases authorized by the
Secretary upon the recommendation of the Regional Director;
c. Vacation service credits shall not be granted for services rendered without
previous authority;
d. Teachers on detail in offices or assigned to non-teaching jobs are on the
vacation-sick leave basis and should not therefore be granted vacation service
credits.

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SCQ

Having read through the module, you may now assess your own understanding of
the messages it contains by answering the following questions:

1. In 2004, the Bureau of Nonformal Education (BNFE) was renamed


Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS). As a consequence, the
Bureau was mandated to provide not only nonformal education but also
an alternative learning system. What is the relationship between NFE
and ALS? Do you think this move by DepEd to focus attention from NFE
to ALS is good for school dropouts? Explain your answer.

2. The module compares the ALS with the formal education program in
terms of various aspects such as: the learning programs, the setting for
learning, the teacher, the age of the learner, the learning materials, the
curriculum, the teaching methodology, and assessment of learning. In
your opinion, which one of these aspects makes ALS and formal
education truly comparable? Explain your answer briefly.

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3. Case No. 1

Mario is 16 years old now. He is a first year high school dropout. He


stopped going to school four years ago because he was sickly. He is very
much interested now to study again, but he does not want to go back to
school. He thinks he is too old for first year.

What program can you advise him to join? Why?

4. Case No. 2

Mang Carding is a 49 year-old grandfather who completed 4th grade


as his highest educational level several years ago. Today, his grandson
asked his help in doing his homework. The long period that he has not
done reading and writing has affected his literacy. He admits that he
himself needs help in reading and writing.

What ALS program can help him? Why?

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CHECKPOINTS

1. The ALS is a learning system delivered outside the school system. It is a


nonformal education program. The other component of ALS is informal
education. With the operationalization of ALS by the DepEd, school
dropouts now have other options for learning aside from the formal school
system. They may opt to join the more systematic learning program which
is nonformal education, or the more experiential-type of learning known as
informal education. In both options, however, a dropout’s prior learning is
recognized and may be accredited if so desired.

In view of this, the move to shift the DepEd focus from NFE to
ALS is a good decision especially from the point of view of the school

dropout.

2. The curricula of the learning systems make them truly comparable


because the competencies in both are parallel and comparable to each
other. In other words, their curricula aim to develop competencies of
knowledge, attitude and skills (K, A, S) that equally promote the same goal
which is functional literacy.

Thus, it is the curriculum that makes formal education and

ALS truly comparable to each other.

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3. Mario can be advised to join the Accreditation and Equivalency Program of


the ALS for the following reasons:

a. Accreditation and Equivalency is a program delivered outside the


school system. This means that the A&E program may be availed of
in the community learning centers i.e. barangay hall, church, place
of work, at home, wherever it is provided. The DepEd Division
Office can assist him on this matter.

b. As an ALS program, A&E does not prescribe an age limit for those
who wish to continue and complete basic education. Since Mario is
indeed over-aged for secondary level, then joining the A&E for
secondary level is a good decision that he can make.

c. The A&E program does not compartmentalize prior learning of an


individual into a specific grade or year level. In fact, the A&E
program certifies and recognizes past learnings acquired by an
individual. Therefore if Mario is evaluated as qualified for the
secondary level of the A&E program, then he can work his way
towards the last stage of high school education according to his
own pace. If he is able to take the A&E test for secondary level and
pass it, then he will receive a certificate of recognition (equivalent to
a high school diploma) signed by no less than the Secretary of
Education which will enable him to enter college/university, or to
take up a job that requires a high school diploma.

Because of the reasons given, Mario should be advised to


enlist in the A&E program with assistance from the DepEd Division
Office.

4. The Basic Literacy Program of ALS is most appropriate for Mang Carding
because it is a program that helps illiterates acquire the basic skills of
reading, writing and numeracy. Moreover, the program is provided outside
the school system specifically in the community learning centers. Likewise,
the program admits all types of learners regardless of age. Mang Carding
can be given assistance by the DepEd Division Office on this matter.

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