Sunday, June 13, 2010

Philippine Alternative Learning System (ALS) for drop-outs and out of school youth

The Alternative Learning System (ALS) is a free education program implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) under the Bureau of Alternative Learning System 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.

How does it work 
In ALS, students have to attend 10 months of school or 800 hours in the classroom. Then their performance are then assessed. 

Since ALS is a module-based learning system, students come in on a set time and choose a module to read. A quiz is given after each module to test their learning. Instead of teachers, facilitators are always present to answer any questions and sometimes lecturers would discuss a certain module. After several months, the students will take the Accreditation and Equivalency Test (AET). If they pass the test, they will be given a high school diploma and can now enroll in college.  Manny Pacquiao took and passed the (AET) under the ALS program. He was presented a high school diploma, making eligible to pursue college.  After getting a certificate upon passing, the students have the option to enroll in ALS again or go to a college.  “I have learners who are maids, fishermen, and babysitters, and a saleslady,”

In fact, they do not even have to go to class five times a week to finish high school. Participants of eSkwela just sit in front of a computer for about three hours a week. They learn according to their need and speed.  The eSkwela has five main learning strands: Communication skills, critical thinking and problem solving, sustainable use of resources and productivity, development of self and a sense of community, and expanding one’s world vision. Each student in every session uses a computer loaded with digital modules with videos and animation. A teacher –called facilitator – helps students navigate the digital modules and monitors his/her progress to determine if the learner is ready for the A&E.

There are two ways in which you can take the Alternative Learning System, through the modules (and just months of classroom preparation for the test?) and through the Internet (with also just months of classroom with the computers as preparation for the test). For more information about the latter:
click here . The latter is called the eSkwela project - the computer-based way of taking the ALS - but I've read that there are no elementary e-modules yet, so the eSkwela for elementary school solely is not yet available.

eSkwela Frequently Asked Questions

For out-of-school youth and adults interested to complete their secondary education (Accreditation and Equivalency) through eSkwela

1. Is eSkwela separate from DepED’s Alternative Learning System (ALS), and its Accreditation & Equivalency (A&E) program? 
Get a copy of the CD to do self learning at home where he can get a copy of the CD. Once he was at the Center, Angelyn Malabanan, an eSkwela learning facilitator, was generous enough to provide him not only a copy of the CD but also a walk-through on how ALS sessions are conducted there, albeit with a technological twist.

No, eSkwela is not separate from DepED-ALS. The difference mainly lies in the mode of ALS delivery; at an eSkwela Center, ICTs (electronic modules, Learning Management System, module guides, computers, Internet/World Wide Web) are utilized to deliver ALS. On the other hand, print modules are used in the traditional ALS. However, they uphold the same set of learning ideals (learning that is self-paced, project-based, and learner-centered; life skills approach). Learners from both delivery modes (traditional ALS and eSkwela) may aspire to take the A&E exam; upon passing this exam, the learner will be given an A&E certificate of completion, equivalent to a high school diploma.

2. How do I qualify for a learner slot at an eSkwela Center?

You should be able to meet the same set requirements required in the print module version of ALS:

· You should be at least 15 years old; if you are younger than 15 years, you are encouraged to complete your secondary education through the formal education system (private/public high school).

· You should be ready with the required documents: your birth certificate, a certification from the school you last attended (if you previously went to school) that you were unable to complete the secondary level.

3. What level of Accreditation & Equivalency (A&E) is currently being offered at the eSkwela Centers?

Currently, secondary A&E (A&E at the secondary level of education) is initially being offered at the eSkwela Centers. The elementary A&E will be offered soon after the elementary e-modules are developed.

4. Is there a test I have to take in order to qualify as an eSkwela learner?
Yes, the eSkwela Center will have you take a Functional Literacy Test (FLT), which will assess the actual level of education you have acquired.

5. Am I automatically accepted as an eSkwela learner if I already completed my elementary education?

Your chances of acceptance as an eSkwela learner could be higher if you have already completed your elementary education, BUT you will still have to qualify through the FLT.

7. Do I need to know how to use a computer before I can be accepted as an eSkwela learner?

Although it is an advantage if you already know how to use a computer, it is not a requirement in order for you to be accepted at eSkwela. The eSkwela facilitators will be giving you remedial sessions on basic computer literacy (particularly basic navigation skills, using the mouse, and the Internet browser) on your first sessions so you will be able to optimally use the computer for your learning sessions.

8. Is there an enrollment/registration fee at an eSkwela Center?

No. Apart from your regular expenses (transportation, baon) and minimal fees (some eSkwela Centers have prepared eSkwela shirts as the learners’ uniforms and IDs), The eSkwela learning sessions are free.

9. When is the best time for me to apply at an eSkwela Center?

The best time to apply is the period after learners have taken their A&E exam, which is being administered every October. For most eSkwela Centers, the learning period starts in January; thus, learner selection is usually done from November to December of the previous year. However, you can still inquire at an eSkwela Center anytime for inquiries.

10. How often should I attend learning sessions at an eSkwela Center?

You and an eSkwela learning facilitator will determine your schedule of learning sessions, in consideration of your work/job (if you are already employed) and availability. Once finalized, you are required to observe your learning schedule.
Those who pass the elementary level examination will be allowed to proceed to the high school level while those who passed the secondary level may choose to enroll in post-secondary technical and vocational courses. Another choice is to enroll in two, three, four or five-year courses in member schools of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) and others likewise supervised by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). They can also avail of the skills training programs of the Meralco Foundation and those provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). 
What are eSkwela locations for school enrollment?

Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency Test (ALS A&E)

Formerly known as the Nonformal Education A&E Test (NFE A&E), the Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency Test (ALS A&E) offers examiners certification of learning achievements  equivalent to the elementary or secondary level of the formal school

The Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test is designed to provide learners with a range of alternatives to allow continuity in learning outside the formal school system. It also determines the examinees' skills and inclinations. According to Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, “Passing the test will pave the way for their re-entry to formal schooling or allow them a chance to pursue other productive endeavors.”

The test is a standardized paper and pencil test, with multiple choice questions for approximately 3 ½  hours for the elementary level and longer by an hour for the high school level, as well as a 30-minute composition writing portion for both. It covers the five learning strands: in communication, problem solving and critical thinking, sustainable use of resources and productivity, development of self and sense of community, and expanding one's world vision.

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2010 ALS A&E EXAM STARTS ON MAY 3 The registration for the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System (DepED - ALS) 2010 Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Examination is set to start on May 3 up to June 15, 2010. 

The ALS A&E Test is a national government program that aims to provide an "Education for All,". It is a free paper and pencil test which is designed to measure the competencies of those who have not finished either the formal elementary or secondary education.

Passers of this test are given a certificate/diploma certifying their competencies as comparable to graduates of the formal school system, which makes them qualified to enroll in high school for elementary level passers, and to enroll in any college course for secondary level passers.
Qualified registrants must present any of the following documents on the day of the registration, to wit: original and xerox copies of the following government-issued identification with photo (valid driver's license, valid passport, voter's ID, SSS/GSIS ID, postal ID, NBI clearance or barangay certification with photo stating complete name and date of birth of the prospective registrant); or authenticated birth certificate for school-drop-outs who are not employed and not old enough to acquire the above documents. The test is free, thus no fees are collected during the registration, administration, processing and certification.


The Philippine eSkwela Project: The Establishment of Community e-Learning Centers for the Out-of-School Youth and Adults
Education department introduces alternative learning system
Online hope for high school dropouts

Philippine Learning Station
For more information about Alternative Learning System in the Philippines