The Alternative Learning System (ALS) is a free education program implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) under the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) which benefits those who cannot afford formal schooling and follows whatever is their available schedule. The program provides a viable alternative to the existing formal education instruction, encompassing both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills.

It was first launched in 1984 under the name Non-Formal Education and was primarily focused on helping its learners acquire technical skills that they can use to earn a living. After getting it name changed into Alternative Learning System in 2004, its focus widened to include literacy classes that are aimed at eventually granting Elementary and High School diplomas to deserving learners who were forced to drop out of primary and secondary school.

ALS aims to open more educational opportunities for Filipino citizens of different interests, capabilities of demographic characteristics, socioeconomic origins and status as well as addressing the needs of marginalized groups.

The program cuts the time needed to finish elementary and high school, hence, significantly cuts the expenses as well. Aside from giving hope to the less fortunate, it also provides opportunities to Out-of-School Youths (OSY) and Adults elementary and secondary school drop-outs; industry-based workers; housewives; maids; factory workers; drivers; members of cultural minorities; indigenous people and disabled/physically challenged.

Classes are conducted at Community Learning Centers. Each municipality or city has a number of CLCs that interested learners can go to. These CLCs can either be a public elementary or secondary schools, a barangay hall, a room or building lent by a government agency, private company, organization, or any other vacant space where learners can gather together. In ALS, learners have to attend 10 months of school or 800 hours in the classroom.

Since ALS is a module-based learning system, learners come in on a set time and choose a module to read. If there are other responsibilities that keep learners from attending classes, they are allowed to take home the modules that they can study wherever and whenever they want. At the end of these modules are questions and exercises that the learners must answer in order to evaluate how much they understood the lesson

After several months, the learners will take the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test. The ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Test aims to offer learners two learning achievements at two learning levels Elementary and Secondary. It is a paper and pencil-based test, using multiple choice and composition writing. The test items are based on the learning competencies of the five learning strands of the ALS Curriculum. The test is divided into 2 parts: the Multiple Choice Tests and the Composition Writing. The test runs for 3 hours and 30 minutes for the Elementary Level and 4 hours and 15 minutes for the Secondary Level. A test passer of either the Elementary or Secondary Level gets a certificate which bears the signature of the Secretary of the Department of Education. This allows a passer to mainstream in the educational system of the country. It offers him/her the following opportunities: enrol in post secondary courses (technical / vocational, two / four / five year course) of the CHED (for private colleges and universities) and PASUC (for government owned / controlled) member institutions; access to MFI and TESDA skills training programs; and acquire eligibility for government employment positions.

ALS caters not only ordinary youth but it opens on opportunity to help well-known personalities in showbiz to pursue their studies.

  • Angelica Bayoneta Colmenares (a.k.a. Angel Locsin) – July 2011 Passer
  • Geoffrey Michael Alati-it Eigenmann (a.k.a. Geoff Eigenmann) – July 2011 Passer
  • Andrew James Alati-it Eigenmann (a.k.a. AJ Eigenmann) – May 2002 Passer
  • Maria Lourdes Egger Dela Cruz (a.k.a. Angelika Dela Cruz) – February 2005 Passer
  • Jessica Mendiola Tawile (a.k.a. Jessy Mendiola) – February 2005 Passer
  • Elizabeth Bonzo Ramirez (a.k.a. Lala Montelibano) – February 2005 Passer
  • Rhian Denise Ramos Howell (a.k.a. Rhian Ramos) – February 2007 Passer
  • Gerald Randolph Opsima Anderson, Jr. (a.k.a. Gerald Anderson) – October 2010 Passer
  • Kimberly Sue Yap Chiu (a.k.a. Kim Chiu) – October 2010 Passer
  • Jovit Lasin Baldovino – October 2010 Passer
  • Zia Denise Marie Padilla Quizon (a.k.a. Zia Quizon) – October 2010 Passer
  • Empress Karen Carreon Schuck (Empress Schuck) – October 2011 Passer
  • Anna Christine Conwi Patrimonio (a.k.a. Tin Tin Patrimonio) – October 2011 Passer
  • Lovemarie Payawal Ongpauco (a.k.a. Heart Evangelista) – October 2013 Passer
  • Maria Assunta Tiotangco Schiavone-Ledesma (a.k.a. Assunta De Rossi) – November 2014 Passer

Contributor:
Ariel D. Cañete
Abucay District ALS Coordinator

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