DepEd opens new office to strengthen program for out-of-school Filipinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 7) — The Department of Education (DepEd) has opened a new office that would strengthen the implementation of its programs for out-of-school Filipinos.

In compliance with the Alternative Learning System Act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law last year, the Bureau of Alternative Education will be the main office for implementing DepEd's Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program.

The ALS program caters to out-of-school youth and adult learners, including indigenous peoples, persons deprived of liberty, and learners with disabilities.

"This will strengthen our initiatives, programs, and policies for the out-of-school children in special cases, youth, and adults as we ensure their educational continuity for them to be able to develop basic and functional literacy, life skills, and pursue an equivalent pathway to complete basic education," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement on Tuesday.

These are among the functions of the new bureau:

- Establish minimum quality standards in the development of the ALS curriculum and learning materials, program planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and management;

- Promote and ensure certification and accreditation of learners through alternative learning programs;

- Ensure access to educational opportunities for learners of different interests, learning needs, capabilities, demographic characteristics, and socioeconomic status, who have been unable to complete formal basic education, who have been unable to complete formal basic education;

- Coordinate with various agencies and industries for skills development; and

- Coordinate, encourage close partnerships and establish linkages with local government units and the private sector on the sustainable implementation of ALS programs.

The ALS program saw a 60% decline in its enrollment this school year with only 239,616 students.