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Gatchalian seeks interventions to prevent ALS dropouts

Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking interventions that will prevent Alternative Learning System (ALS) enrollees from dropping out.

Gatchalian has flagged the steady decline of ALS completion rates, which indicates increasing levels of learner dropout. Sixty-five percent or 454,550 out of 698,356 learners completed the program in School Year (SY) 2016-2017. For SY 2021-2022, however, the number of ALS learners who completed the program dropped to 328,195 or 49% of the 668,947 learners enrolled.

According to a 2021 study by UNICEF, the lack of financial support (38%) and work (29%) are the top reasons why learners do not complete the ALS program.

“We need to strengthen guidance and counseling for ALS learners to help and encourage them to stay in the program. We also need to provide career progression for ALS learners so they can know where they will go, what type of skills can we impart, and what type of jobs they can go into after taking ALS,” said Gatchalian, principal author and sponsor of the Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No. 11510).

He also highlighted the importance of implementing the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Assessment to measure the performance of learners. Under the ALS law, the A&E seeks to measure and certify the competencies of ALS program completers. Gatchalian pointed out that while the average completion rate from SY 2016-2017 to SY 2018-2019 was 63%, only 33%, on average, of those who completed the program passed the A&E.

Based on estimates from Gatchalian’s office and the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Labor Force Survey 2018 and 2021, up to 27.3 million Filipinos aged 15 and above who did not complete basic education were not enrolled in ALS for SY 2022-2023. There were 640,448 ALS learners enrolled that same school year, the equivalent of a 2% participation rate.  

Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN