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 people of the world. Our nation was a signatory to this and as such, committed to providing education for all Filipinos
ALTERNATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM → is a parallel learning system that provides a viable alternative to the existing formal education. It encompasses both the non formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills. 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 = Non Formal Education (NFE) and Informal Education (IEd)
A. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 356: RENAMING THE BEREAU OF NON FORMAL EDUCATION (BNFE) THE BEREAU 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 Non Formal Education the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) through this Executive Order signed by Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The order directs BALS to provide a systematic and flexible approach to reach all types of learners outside the school system.
THIS MEANS THAT by the virtue of this Executive Order, the BALS has given the authority to guide the development of the country’s ALS.
Functions of BALS
•to address the learning needs of all marginalized groups including the deprived, depressed and underserved citizens •to coordinate with various agencies for skills development of the learners •to expand access to educational opportunities for citizens of different interests, capabilities, demographic characteristics and socio-economic origins and status •to promote certification and accreditation for basic education of alternative learning programs both non formal and informal in nature
B. 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 intervention 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...