Learners enrolled under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) will receive support under the 2023 national budget, Senator Win Gatchalian assures.
The bicameral conference committee report on the 2023 national budget, which Congress ratified on December 5, carried Gatchalian’s proposal to allocate P562 million of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget for the implementation of ALS programs and the provision of ALS learning resources. The allocation also covers the provision of transportation and teaching aid allowances to ALS teachers and DepEd-engaged community ALS implementors. The P562 million budget falls under Flexible Learning Options.
ALS is a parallel learning system that provides a viable alternative to the existing formal education instruction. It encompasses both nonformal and informal sources of knowledge and skills.
During the deliberations on the proposed DepEd budget for 2023, Gatchalian emphasized the need to secure funding for ALS. He pointed out how ALS became a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged lack of face-to-face classes in the Philippines. Based on DepEd data as of March 14 this year, there were 472,869 learners enrolled in ALS for School Year 2021-2022, 38% lower compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“Ang ALS ay nagbibigay ng pangalawang pagkakataon sa mga kababayan nating hindi natapos ang kanilang pag-aaral. Ngunit nang tumama ang pandemya, nakaranas ng matinding dagok ang mga programa ng ALS, kaya naman sa ilalim ng 2023 national budget, tiniyak nating mabibigyan ng suporta ang mga mag-aaral sa ALS upang hindi sila mapag-iwanan sa muling pagbangon ng bansa,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
Gatchalian is the principal author and sponsor of the Republic Act No. 11510 (ALS Act) which institutionalizes, strengthens, and expands the ALS program to provide increased opportunities for out-of-school children in special cases and adult learners, including indigenous peoples, to develop basic and functional literacy and life skills, and pursue an equivalent pathway to complete basic education.