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USAID and DepEd collaborate to enhance lifelong learning  for Filipino out-of-school youth at ALS Summit 

QUEZON CITY – The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), joined the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday, June 13, for the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Summit held at SEAMEO INNOTECH.
The ALS Summit, conducted from June 13-14 with the theme of “Preparing the Filipino Learners for Lifelong Learning,” celebrated the innovations and best practices of DepEd and its partners for the development of a strong, inclusive, and resilient learning ecosystem for marginalized out-of-school youth (OSY) and adults.
Through the Opportunity 2.0 (O2) program, which is administered by the Education Development Center, USAID supports DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Education (BAE) in strengthening national and local systems that provide basic education and lifelong learning opportunities for OSY and adults as prescribed in the ALS 2.0 strategic roadmap.
DepEd’s Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction (Usec.) Gina Gonong opened the summit by providing background information on the establishment of the BAE and outlining a roadmap for ALS development. She explained that the event highlights the accomplishments and milestones of DepEd’s implementation of ALS in compliance with Republic Act 11510, or the Alternative Learning System Act, and emphasized that “[DepEd] also wants to identify areas for further reform so that we can further strengthen the implementation of the alternative learning system.”
Usec. Gonong added, “DepEd commits to sustaining ALS as a credible parallel form of basic education and a provider of lifelong learning opportunities for out-of-school children, youth, and adults.”
Acting Mission Director of USAID Philippines and Mongolia, Rebekah Eubanks, delivered a message of support to DepEd and the more than 185 in-person summit participants.
“As a parallel learning system for out-of-school children, youth, and adult learners, ALS provides an important pathway for students to either return to formal education or get their equivalency, both of which can lead to more opportunities to improve their lives through higher education or better quality jobs,” said Eubanks.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Chairperson on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, spoke about what is needed to fulfill the tenets of the ALS Act.
“The point of the matter here is, we need partners, the local government units, private sector partners, even international partners to increase access,” he said.
“I will not give you false hope that we can give the 160 billion pesos right away in order to fully implement the law, but what we need now is to increase partnership by coming up with standards and accreditation. That’s why fully implementing the law is a very important activity,” the senator stressed.
In his message of support, Congressman and House Committee Chairperson on Basic Education and Culture, Roman T. Romulo, spoke on the creation of RA 11510 and the developments that have happened since.
“ALS should be focused on returning to the mainstream our learners who, because of no fault of their own, had to leave schooling, formal schooling,” Congressman Romulo said while adding that “what is important is that we focus on functional literacy. Reading and reading comprehension. And under the law, I think that was made clear.”
Aligned with DepEd’s MATATAG curriculum, O2 worked closely with the BAE to co-develop the Self-Directed ALS Life Skills Modules for learners, including several interactive audio instruction episodes, and to design a Professional Development Course for ALS Teachers. Additionally, O2 also facilitated the development of the ALS 2.0 Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System Operations Handbook, which offers guidance to BAE staff and ALS supervisors and teachers to efficiently manage and implement the ALS program through more streamlined and effective monitoring and evaluation systems.
Through the Opportunity 2.0 Program, USAID will continue to support existing education systems that serve and support lifelong learning opportunities for Filipino OSY and adults.


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