Manila, Philippines - From its name, it serves as an alternative to getting educated with the necessary technical skills and knowledge sources to make a living and doing so without going through the conventional routes.
Breaking away from the standard classroom setting, ALS goes beyond the four walls and gets into the heart of the community. Learning is conducted in community centers, or commonly called Community Learning Centers (CLCs).
CLCs range from public schools, barangays, city libraries, and even homes. Compared to formally trained teachers, ALS is managed by ALS learning facilitators: instructional managers, mobile teachers, ALS coordinators of various districts, who all teach at a set schedule agreed upon between those who wish to take ALS, and the facilitators themselves.
Here are some basic need-to-knows about ALS:
The ALS program is open to out-of-school youths, industry-based workers, disabled persons, ex-convicts, NPAs, indigenous people or those that are part of cultural minorities, and other Filipinos who cannot afford formal schooling. ALS found in all regions, with various CLCs in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
ALS offers Accreditation and Equivalency Classes, or A&E for short, and livelihood programs to choose from.
A&E classes are divided into five categories, which are known as learning strands. These are:
- Communication Skills (English and Filipino),
- Problem Solving and Critical Thinking (Science and Mathematics),
- Sustainable Uses of Resources and Productivity,
- the Values strand called 'Development of Self and a Sense of Community/Value of Collaboration',
- and Expanding One's Own Vision.
A&E classes aim not just to impart technical academic skills such as reading and writing on the learners, but practical notions on dealing with things psychosocially, emotionally, especially in a diverse working environment.
Livelihood programs involve more practical technical skills such as cooking, handicrafts, dressmaking/tailoring, hairdressing, and many more. The classes also involve practical skills training as a means of knowledge application.
ALS classes are usually held every day, the hours and days dependent on the ALS facilitator and the days the learner can attend. However, the usual hours to complete A&E classes are at a minimum of 800 hours. For livelihood programs, it is dependent on the program you have chosen, as some may only go for days, some for months.
Interested enrollees undergo the initial oral and written tests (ALS Accreditation and Equivalency tests) for assessment of their competency level. This test is open annually, happening once or twice a year. Based on the results, applicants are then grouped by level (primary and secondary level) and start with the Basic Literacy Program, before advancing to other classes.
After finishing the recommended hours, they are given a certificate bearing the DepEd seal and DepEd Secretary’s signature that certifies competencies equally comparative to the graduates of the formal school system.
For further inquiries on ALS, you may opt to visit the government agency’s website http://www.deped.gov.ph, or visit the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) at 3/F Mabini Bldg., DepEd Complex, Meralco Ave., Pasig City office hours are from Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm. You may contact them at any of the following numbers: (02) 635-5189 | 635-5188 | 635-5194 | 635-5193.