Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -


The uni­ver­sal ac­cess to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion is a le­gal man­date of the State. The 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion specif­i­cally Ar­ti­cle XIV, Sec­tion 4 ar­tic­u­lates that the State shall “en­cour­age non-for­mal, in­for­mal, and in­dige­nous learn­ing sys­tems, as well as self-learn­ing, in­de­pen­dent, and out-of-school study pro­grams par­tic­u­larly those that re­spond to com­mu­nity needs. Fur­ther, in Sec­tion 5 states that the State shall “pro­vide adult cit­i­zens, the dis­abled, and out-of-school youth with train­ing in civics, vo­ca­tional ef­fi­ciency, and other skills”( LawPHil,2015).

The same pro­vi­sions are reem­pha­sized in Ed­u­ca­tion Act of 1982, Chap­ter 2, Sec­tion 24 man­dat­ing the State to sup­port Spe­cial­ized Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vice. More­over, Sec­tion 24 (3) de­fined Non-for­mal Ed­u­ca­tion (NFE), as a Spe­cial­ized Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram as “any or­ga­nized school-based ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties un­der­taken by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Cul­ture and Sports and other agen­cies aimed at at­tain­ing spe­cific learn­ing ob­jec­tives for a par­tic­u­lar clien­tele, es­pe­cially the il­lit­er­ates and the out-of-school youth and adults, dis­tinct from and out­side the reg­u­lar of­fer­ings of the for­mal school sys­tem”. Ad­di­tion­ally, Sec­tion 24 (4) enu­mer­ates the ob­jec­tives of NFE and to wit:

(a) to erad­i­cate il­lit­er­acy and raise the level of func­tional lit­er­acy of the pop­u­la­tion;

(b) to pro­vide un­em­ployed and un­der­em­ployed youth and adults with ap­pro­pri­ate vo­ca­tional/tech­ni­cal skills to en­able them to be­come more pro­duc­tive and ef­fec­tive cit­i­zens; and (c) to de­velop among the clien­tele of non-for­mal ed­u­ca­tion proper val­ues and at­ti­tudes nec­es­sary for per­sonal, com­mu­nity and na­tional de­vel­op­ment ( Ed­u­ca­tion in the Philip­pines, 2015).

An­chor­ing from the cited le­gal pro­vi­sions, it is ev­i­dent that the Al­ter­na­tive Learn­ing Sys­tem (ALS), as one of the pro­grams of DepEd, is man­dated by law. Ev­i­dently, it is equally im­por­tant with the for­mal ed­u­ca­tion be­cause it serves as the equal­izer of ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties. In­di­vid­u­als who were not able to en­joy their right to ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, in what­ever rea­son, will have the equal chance to com­plete it through ALS.

Aside from the skill-based train­ing of ALS with the main end for em­ploy­ment, lit­er­acy is also one of the equal­izer pro­grams. This pro­vides the guar­an­tee for Out-Of-School (OSY) learn­ers to ac­quire the pre­scribed learn­ing com­pe­ten­cies through com­mu­nity-based learn­ing cen­ters. In its essence, the OSY un­dergo an in­for­mal in­struc­tion which is com­pe­tency-based and even­tu­ally un­dergo an as­sess­ment through a test for ac­cred­i­ta­tion and equiv­a­lency which is the Al­ter­na­tive Learn­ing Sys­tem- Ac­cred­i­ta­tion and Equiv­a­lency (ALS-A&E).

— oOo—

The au­thor is Head Teacher III at Lubao Na­tional High School

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