The 2024 national budget assures funding for the implementation of Alternative Learning System (ALS) programs and learning resources for learners with disabilities, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
Under the signed 2024 General Appropriations Act (Republic Act No.11975), at least P632.48 million is allotted under the Flexible Learning Options for the implementation of ALS programs, provision of transportation and teaching aid allowances to ALS teachers and Department of Education (DepEd)-engaged community ALS implementers, and the provision of ALS learning resources. Gatchalian’s original proposed amount for ALS was P562 million.
Under the DepEd’s fund for Basic Education Facilities, P56 million is allotted for the construction of ALS community learning centers (CLC). The Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No.11510), which Gatchalian authored and sponsored, mandates the DepEd and local government units (LGUs) to provide at least one CLC in every city and municipality to facilitate the implementation of the ALS K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum and other ALS programs. The law institutionalized the ALS to provide a second chance to education for out-of-school children in special cases and adult learners, including indigenous peoples.
The amount of P100 million is also allotted under textbooks and other instructional materials for learners with disabilities enrolled in the formal school system and ALS. This allocation also covers personal safety lessons for learners with disabilities, as well as electronic and online learning materials.
According to Gatchalian, the provision of learning resources for learners with disabilities is consistent with the implementation of Republic Act No. 11650, also known as Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act, which he also co-authored and sponsored. The law mandates public and private schools to ensure equitable access to quality education for every learner with disability.
“Sa ilalim ng 2024 national budget, hindi natin kinalimutan ang ating mga mag-aaral na higit na nangangailangan ng ating tulong, kabilang ang mga mga mag-aaral natin sa ALS at mag-aaral na may kapansanan. Patuloy nating titiyaking pagdating sa abot-kaya at dekalidad na edukasyon, hindi sila mapag-iiwanan,” said Gatchalian, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.