THE DEPARTMENT of Education (DepEd) said it has now included skills training in its Alternative Learning System (ALS) to empower the youth who plan to work while studying.
With the aim to intensify and expand the regular ALS program, which is considered “the centerpiece of basic education under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration”, the DepEd recently launched the Alternative Learning System-Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST) Program Handbook for Implementers.
The DepEd added a skills training component to the ALS education in addition to the basic subjects such as History, Math and Science. Students enrolled in the program can now be trained in food and housekeeping, electronics and welding, wellness, dressmaking, agriculture and carpentry.
Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan said DepEd would allocate supplementary funds for the training facilities and for those who will facilitate the training. “The ALS skills training has already started in 98 pilot schools but DepEd targets all public schools to have ALS skills training. The next challenge is the scale up or mainstreaming of these pilot programs,” Malaluan said.
According to the Annual Poverty Indicator Survey in 2017, some 1.43 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were out of school and have not completed basic education. And Malaluan said they aim to bring these out of school children and youth through the ALS-EST, which is a complementary program to the mainstream ALS.
The program also aims to holistically prepare learners for various exits, such as higher education, middle-level skills development, entrepreneurship, and employment by integrating a skills training component with the basic education component. “Non-formal education is not second-class education, it is a modality, a pathway, and for many learners, a second or even first chance at education. This is the framework and motivation that drives the ALS-EST Program,” Malaluan said.
The handbook, which has 14 chapters, provides a summary of the challenges in reaching out of school youth and adults who were not able to complete basic education; a discussion of the ALS-EST Program, including its learners, curriculum, learning resources, learning delivery, learning facilitators, assessment and certification; and other aspects of the program. (Maria Teresa Montemayor)
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