TO ENSURE that the Alternative Learning System (ALS) curriculum is aligned with the K to 12 Program, and to provide opportunities to out-of-school youth (OSY) and adult learners, the Department of Education (DepEd), through the Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD), launched the ALS-K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum.
Like the K to 12 Curriculum, the ALS-K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum is expressed in content standards, performance standards, and learning competencies. It also defines the minimum competency standards for learners an alternative pathway of learning and certification parallel to the formal school system.
DepEd Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and ALS G.H. Ambat underscored the importance to adjust the previous ALS curriculum that would help dispel notions of disparity between ALS graduates and graduates from the formal system.
“We are true to our mandate that no learner [will be] left behind. With this new curriculum, we hope that the ALS learners would have the same quality of education that would avail them of the four exits of K to 12: higher education, employment, entrepreneurship, or middlelevel skills development,” she said.
BCD Director Jocelyn Andaya explained that the revision of the curriculum took two years because the office, as well as the former office handling the program, the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), undertook a comprehensive review and revision process involving a series of consultations and workshops with curriculum experts in formal and non-formal education from within and outside the DepEd.
The outputs of workshops were further reviewed by national and international consultants, DepEd subject experts, and ALS learning practitioners, supervisors, and other ALS stakeholders.
Comparable to the formal school curriculum, the ALS curriculum reflects the set of knowledge, skills, and competencies that learners should develop to meet the minimum requirement of basic education. The curriculum includes both the formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills.
Andaya further explained the menu of possible learning interventions and pathways responsive to the needs, context, circumstances, and diversity of learners that the refined ALS Curriculum provides.
To erase the notion that ALS is an “inferior” curriculum, the new curriculum gives equivalency options and alternative programs similar to formal schooling, such that a learner can move and transfer seamlessly from one education system to another. For example, a learner can have formal education from Kindergarten to Grade 3, then shift to non-formal education for Grades 5 to 6, and reintegrate seamlessly into the formal system for Junior High School (JHS) because the essential skills are covered by both curriculum.
Assessments are in place to ensure readiness of learners for the next level of schooling. The use of flexible learner options helps ensure this fluidity and permeability from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
The essential skills are the same for both formal and non-formal curriculums and can be delivered through many means and strategies. These curriculums hold into account the prior learning of its learners, which is a very important feature in the ALS Curriculum, and reflect the indicators of functional literacy.
ALS utilizes learning modules. Each module is complete in itself and contains the description of the module, objectives, learning activities, and pre and post-tests.
The learning strands are the equivalent of “subjects” in the formal school system: Learning Strands Topics or Skills; Learning Strand 1 Communication Skills (English); Communication Skills (Filipino); Learning Strand 2 Scientific Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills; Learning Strand 3 Mathematical and Problem Solving Skills; Learning Strand 4 Life and Career Skills; Learning Strand 5 Understanding the Self and Society Learning Strand 6 Digital Literacy.
Each strand has a schematic diagram which describes the relationship of the parts to the whole strength.
For ALS to be truly parallel with the formal education system, same standards and competencies are set for both in the K to 12 Curriculum to achieve the goal of producing holistically developed Filipinos with 21st century skills.
Although the framework is organized in strands, the intention is that instruction should be created around topics of importance to learners. This is the basic difference between the K to 12 Curriculum and the ALS Curriculum. The topics should provide an opportunity for the integration of skills.
Andaya added that during the alignment and finalization process, many learning competencies from the formal school curriculum were adopted in the ALS Basic Education Curriculum. There was significant expansion of the content scope to ensure alignment with the formal K to 12 school curriculum. The number of competencies included in the curriculum increased from 776 existing learning competencies to 2,046 enhanced learning competencies. (PR)