Alternative Learning System
What is Alternative Learning System or ALS?
It is a parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides a practical option to the existing
formal instruction. When one does not have or cannot access formal education in schools, ALS is
an alternate or substitute. ALS includes both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge
Why is there a need for Alternative Learning System in the Philippines?
Many Filipinos do not have a chance to attend and finish formal basic education (Grades 1-6 and
Year 1-4) due to many reasons. Some drop out from schools while some do not have schools in
their communities. Since every Filipino has a right to free basic education, the Government
establishes ALS to provide all Filipinos the chance to have access to and complete basic
education in a mode that fits their distinct situations and needs.
What is the basis of ALS implementation in the Philippines?
The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides for the recognition and promotion of other forms of
education other than formal education. Article XIV, Section 2, Paragraph (1) declares that the
State shall establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of
education relevant to the needs of the people and society; and paragraph (4) concisely
encourages non-formal, informal and indigenous learning systems as well as self-learning,
independent and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community
The Governance Act for Basic Education otherwise known as the Republic Act 9155 stipulates
the establishment of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) to provide out-of-school children,
youth and adults population with basic education.
How does ALS work?
There are two major programs on ALS that are being implemented by the Department of
Education, through the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS). One is the Basic
Literacy Program and the other is the Continuing Education Program - Accreditation and
Equivalency (A&E). Both programs are modular and flexible. This means that learning can take
place anytime and any place, depending on the convenience and availability of the learners.
What is the difference between the Formal Education System and the Alternative Learning
System (ALS) Non-formal Education?
Formal Education system is classroom-based, managed by trained formal school teachers.
ALS Non-formal Education happens outside the classroom, community-based, usually
conducted at community learning centers, barangay multi-purpose hall, libraries or at home,
managed by ALS learning facilitators, such as mobile teachers, district ALS Coordinators,
instructional managers at an agreed schedule and venue between the learners and facilitators.
What curriculum is used in the ALS?
The ALS Curriculum reflects the set of knowledge skills and competencies that learners should
develop to meet the minimum requirements of basic education. It is comparable to the formal
school curriculum. The teaching and learning processes and resources are based on the ALS
Who are the target learners in the ALS?
ALS is intended for out-of-school children, youth and adults who need basic and functional
literacy skills, knowledge and values.
These people are usually located in far-flung communities with no or limited access to formal
• In 2008, it was estimated that 40.95 million or 45% of the total Philippine population did
not complete basic education. This population is considered the target groups of the
alternative learning system.
• Among the target groups, 27.53 million are 15 years old and above. Meanwhile, 6-11
years old (8.7 million) and 12-15 (4.7 million) years old are the aggregated target learners
who are in-school age.
• Specifically, this group of marginalized learners consists of street children, indigenous
peoples, farmers, fisherfolks, women, adolescents, solo parents, children in conflict areas
not reached by the formal school system, rebel returnees, and others.
Who delivers the ALS?
ALS is either DepEd-delivered, DepEd-procured, or DepEd Partners-delivered.
• DepEd-delivered refers to the implementation arrangement where program is directly
carried-out by DepEd ALS implementers such as the ALS Mobile Teachers and District
• DepEd-procured refers to the implementation arrangement where program is contracted
by DepEd to service providers such as non-government organizations and other
government organizations and literacy volunteers.
• DepEd Partners-delivered refers to the implementation of ALS Programs by non-
DepEd organizations such as Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Government
Organizations (NGOs) and other Government Organizations (GOs), international donor
agencies, church-based organizations and individuals on a voluntary basis using their
Who are the DepEd ALS Field Implementors?
The ALS Programs are carried out by ALS Mobile Teachers and District ALS Coordinators in
the 17 regions of the country. Both are DepEd employed and hold regular teacher items.
Mobile Teachers are “specialized” teachers who live among the people in remote barangays of
the country to conduct the BLP for illiterate out-of-school children, youth and adults who are
willing to learn basic literacy skills and proceed to Continuing Education program: Accreditation
and Equivalency (A&E) for those who left formal school system or have no access to schools.
The District ALS Coordinators are primarily designated to harmonize ALS initiatives in a
district. However, just like the Mobile Teachers, they also serve as learning facilitators in the
delivery of the different ALS programs/projects.
How does learning intervention take place in the ALS?
The learning facilitator (Facilitator, Instructional Manager, ALS Mobile Teacher, District ALS
Coordinator) goes to a sitio or barangay with Functional Literacy Test and a set of learning
materials to conduct learning sessions until such time that the learners have become literate
before going to another sitio or barangay. However, depending on the need of the learners, the
learning facilitator goes back to a sitio or barangay for visitation and follow-up.
Most of the time, instead of the learners going to the Community Learning Center, the learning
facilitator brings the learning materials to the learners to help them acquire basic and or
functional literacy skills.
ALS programs are delivered in various modes such as face-to-face, radio-based,
eSkwela/computer-based or independent learning.
Where do learning sessions take place?
Learning sessions take place at the Community Learning Center or at any place convenient to the
learners. Teaching and learning may also take place at the homes of the learners, under the
shades of trees, inside a church or mosque, playground and any other available space and venue.
What materials are used in the ALS?
The ALS utilizes learning modules. Each module is complete in itself. It contains the description
of the module, objectives, learning activities, and pre and post tests. Modules for the basic and
lower elementary level learners come with a Facilitator’s Guide. Meanwhile, modules for
advanced elementary and secondary levels were designed for self-learning.
In the conduct of ALS sessions, use of supplementary learning materials is being encouraged
particularly those that are developed by the Facilitator to suit the local need and context and are
In partnership with various organizations, both local and international, the DepEd-BALS was
able to adapt and/or produce print and non-print learning materials to supplement the existing
modules in the conduct of ALS learning sessions.
Supplementary materials are important in the conduct of ALS learning sessions. Additional
materials make learning sessions more effective by reinforcing newly acquired literacy skills.
They also serve as springboards to a new lesson, thus, making learning more fun and interesting.
Use of multi-media also gives both Facilitators and learners chance to access new information
and technology and activates multi-sensory learning.
What are the areas of learning in the ALS?
The learning areas in the ALS are called learning strands which are the equivalent of the
“subjects” in the formal school system.
These learning strands are:
• Communication Skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
• Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking (numeracy and scientific thinking)
• Sustainable use of Resources/Productivity (ability to earn a living through self-
employment, outside employment, entrepreneurship, sustainable use of resources and
appropriate technology and productivity)
• Development of Self and a Sense of Community (self-development, a sense of personal
and national history and identity, cultural pride and recognition and understanding of
civil and political rights)
• Expanding One’s World Vision (knowledge, respect and appreciation for diversity, peace
and non-violent resolution of conflict, and global awareness and solidarity)
Is there an entrance test in the ALS?
The potential learner in the ALS goes through a screening process to determine whatever prior
learning that he/she may have through the Functional Literacy Test (FLT). This assessment will
assist the Learning Facilitator to set-up a teaching and learning plan for a particular learner.
The FLT is composed of five (5) parts. These are 1) the Personal Information Sheet (PIS), 2)
Listening and Speaking, 3) Reading, 4) Writing, and 5) Numeracy.
What is the difference between non-formal education and informal education?
To reach this marginalized group of learners, BALS implements non-formal and informal
education or education that takes place outside the formal school system.
Republic Act 9155 defines Non-formal Education as “any organized, systematic educational
activity carried outside the framework of the formal school system to provide selected types of
learning to a segment of the population”.
On the other hand, Informal Education is defined as “a lifelong process of learning by which
every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily
experiences at home, at work, at play and from life itself”.
BALS carries out two Non-formal Education Programs: a) the Basic Literacy Program (BLP) for
illiterates and the b) Continuing Education: Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program for
elementary and high school drop-outs.
BALS has developed Informal Education courses that include self-interest and life experiences
programs. Initially, it has already developed a special curriculum for indigenous peoples (IPs).
With this construct, greater learning needs will be addressed and funneled to promote lifelong
learning in all streams of education.
Program for illiterates:
Basic Literacy Program (BLP)
The Basic Literacy Program (BLP) is a program aimed at eradicating illiteracy among out-of-
schools youth and adults (in extreme cases school-aged children) by developing basic literacy
skills of reading, writing and numeracy.
Program for dropouts of formal Elementary and Secondary Levels:
Continuing Education: Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program
The Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program is a program aimed at providing an
alternative pathway of learning for out-of-school children, youth and adults who are basically
literate but who have not completed the 10 years of basic education mandated by the Philippine
Constitution. Through this program, school dropouts are able to complete elementary and high
school education outside the formal school system.
For information on the A&E Test, go to the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Test page.
Program for Indigenous Peoples:
Indigenous Peoples Education
The Indigenous Peoples Education is a research and development project which aims to provide
basic education support services to IP communities. This is initially implemented at the tribal
communities in Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte, Gen. Nakar, Quezon, and Botolan, Zambales.
Program for Muslim Migrants:
Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education in Alternative Learning System (ALIVE
The Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education in Alternative Learning System (ALIVE in
ALS) is designed for the Muslim Migrants to be able to positively contribute to the peace efforts
of our government in order to improve the quality of life of Muslim OSY and adults. It has
components, namely; Basic Literacy Program + ALIVE; Accreditation & Equivalency (A&E)
Program + ALIVE; Informal Education + ALIVE; Technical Vocational Education Program +
ALIVE; and Entrepreneurship Development + ALIVE.
Program for Hearing Impairment:
Alternative Learning System for Differently-Abled Persons (ALS-DAP)
The Alternative Learning System for Differently-Abled Persons (ALS-DAP) is a project which
aims to deliver Basic Literacy Program to the special/differently-abled children/OSYs/adults,
e.g., hearing impaired learners who have not availed of/have no access to the formal school
system through specialized approaches, e.g., sign language.
Program for Adolescents:
Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH)
The Adolescent Reproductive Health is a project for out-of-school adolescents ages 9-24 years
old. It is a life skills-based education program for adolescents who are in high-risky behavior,
sex-related or non-sex related behavior.
Program for Parents:
The Parent Education is an informal education which is a life skills short-term course that
addresses the special needs and interests of the parents to promote pride in their work and
ownership of their responsibilities as members of the family and their community.
Program for Poor Families:
Family Basic Literacy Program (FBLP)
This is a literacy service learning intervention utilizing literate family members to help non-
literate members upgrade their literacy skills and improve the educational opportunities of poor
families in the depressed, deprived and underserved (DDU) areas.
Radio-Based Instruction (RBI)
The Radio-Based Instruction (RBI) Program is an alternative learning delivery mode using radio
broadcast to deliver the ALS programs. As a form of distance learning, it is able to expand
access to education by bringing it to where the learners are. It aims to provide learning
opportunities to listeners and enable them to acquire equivalency in basic education through the
broadcast of lessons.
Program for Disadvantaged Children:
Informal Education for Disadvantaged Children
This program focuses on packaging of short-term educational activity that addresses the special
needs and interests of the street and working children. It intends to use life skills active learning
approaches/strategies aimed at developing/enhancing social, civic, aesthetic, cultural,
recreational physical and personal development. The learning materials/packages may be
developed/adopted/adapted or gathered from other sources and tailored-fit to the identified needs
of the said users.