House leader seeks DepEd’s ALS program

The House Ways and Means Committee has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to expand its resources and dedicated teachers to the Alternative Learning System (ALS), one of  DepEd’s effective anti-poverty measures.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said expansion of the access to ALS is a logical move to help address the increased poverty of families due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic likely forced many students to stop their studies while many others will likely have to work to pay off pandemic debts. The ALS has been a very attractive path for learners who cannot afford to go to conventional school, but want to attain diplomas. That source of demand has increased during the pandemic,” he noted.

Salceda shared that under the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), at least P559 million have been allotted under Flexible Learning Options (FLO) for the implementation of the ALS programs, which include the delivery of ALS services, ALS Community Learning Centers, and for transportation and teaching aid allowance for ALS teachers and ALS community implementors.

He added P14.7 billion have also been earmarked for learning materials under flexible learning options in the DepEd budget. He said the ALS can help close the skills gap, estimated at 2.4 million workers, due to Covid-19 school lockdowns, as well as reduce the impact on the economy of such a gap, which is estimated at P134 billion last year.

Salceda urged the DepEd to produce a catch-up plan for the learning gaps incurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. One such measure DepEd must undertake is to draw up a National Learning Recovery Plan similar to the national government plans on employment recovery and economic growth.

“The learning gap is serious, especially as we are one of the few countries left in the world that has not yet reopened most of its schools,” the Albay lawmaker stressed.