Press Releases

Salceda wants expansion of Alternative Learning System as DepEd considers more face-to-face classes; House tax chair wants catch-up plan for learners “left behind” by pandemic

January 19th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is asking the Department of Education (DepEd) to expand resources and dedicated teachers to the Alternative Learning System (ALS), saying 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 adds that “the ALS has been a very attractive path for learners who cannot afford to go to conventional school, but want to attain diplomas. That source of demand has increased during the pandemic.”

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 implementors.

“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 added.

The House economic recovery chief 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 the reduce the impact on the economy of such a gap, which we estimated at 134 billion annually last year.”

Salceda recalled his 122-page report to the COVID-19 task force that stated that “the economic costs of delaying school by one month to be 0.5 to 0.7 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] this year, and 0.3 to 0.4 percent of GDP for the entire productive life of this generation of students.”

Catch-up plan needed

Salceda also wants the Department of Education to produce a catch-up plan for the learning gaps incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One minimum that the DepEd must undertake is a National Learning Recovery Plan similar to the national government plans on employment recovery and economic growth,” Salceda said.

“The learning gap is serious, especially as we are one of the few countries left in the world that has not yet reopened most of its schools,” Salceda added.

“It doesn’t look like a crisis yet, but if you leave it without any concerted national government effort, you will see its economically debilitating impacts once this generation begins to graduate in college,” the House tax chair also explained.

“I will request the DepEd to begin a concerted national effort on this front in my capacity as Co-Chair of the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Cluster of the House,” Salceda said. #

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