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Albay solon asks DepEd to expand Alternative Learning System

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An Albay lawmaker has asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to expand resources and dedicated teachers to the Alternative Learning System (ALS).

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said that “the pandemic likely forced many to stop from their classes, and many others will likely have to work to pay off pandemic debts.”

“A logical conclusion regarding increased poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic is that we need to increase access to the Alternative Learning System. This has been one of the most effective anti-poverty measures of the DepEd. More poverty means a greater need for ALS,” Salceda said.

Salceda also noted that the ALS has been a “very attractive” path for learners who cannot afford to go to conventional school, but want to attain diplomas.

The 2022 General Appropriations Act allotted “at least” P559 million under Flexible Learning Options (FLO) the implementation of ALS Programs, which includes the delivery of ALS services, ALS Community Learning Centers, and for transportation and teaching aid allowance for ALS teachers and ALS community implementers.

“Since the GAA states that at least P559 million under the FLO item can be allotted to the ALS, we can allocate other items in that item towards ALS materials. There is also P14.7 billion for learning materials under flexible learning options in the DepEd budget,” Salceda said.

He also believes that the ALS “can help close the skills gap, which we estimated at 2.4 million workers, due to COVID-19 school lockdowns, and reduce the impact on the economy of such a gap, which we estimated at 134 billion annually last year.”