The DepEd ALS app: An “education for all initiative” from DepEd Philippines
The Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education (DepEd) is a parallel learning system that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction in the Philippines. Primarily aimed at out-of-school children, youth, and adults, the ALS offers instruction on basic functional literacy skills, knowledge, and values.
ALS programs are modular and flexible, which means learning can take place any time and any place. Learning sessions are held at community learning centers or practically any place that is convenient to the learner, including the learner’s home, the community playground, church or mosque. ALS learners who wish to enroll in formal secondary and post-secondary schools must pass the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test.
The DepEd ALS app
To improve the reach and mobility of the ALS program, the DepEd collaborated with mobile application developer Orange Fix and telecoms company Smart Communications Inc. to develop an app that makes all teaching materials under the ALS Curriculum available in digital form. The DepEd ALS app is free of charge and is available only for Android users.
After installing the DepEd ALS app, you will see a menu with the following tabs/categories: Learning, Teaching, Advocacy, Reference, and Recently. Under the Learning Category, you can download DepED ALS modules for Lower Elementary, Advanced Elementary, Secondary, and Academic-Focused Bridging. Each DepEd ALS module is complete in itself. It contains a description of the module, learning objectives, a pre-test, learning activities, a post-test, summary of the module’s main points, answer key, and a list of references. Modules are available both in Filipino and in English.
Facilitator’s/Teacher’s Guides for the the DepEd ALS modules can be found under the Teaching category. Also under this category are training materials, the ALS Curriculum, and materials for advocacy and social mobilization. Learners’ success stories, as well as image files of DepEd tarpaulins promoting the ALS, can be found under the Advocacy tab. The Reference tab includes the Functional Literacy Test and corresponding answer key and scoring guide, while the Recently tab is where you find a list of recently opened modules/documents.
The advantage of using the DepEd ALs app is that you can download all modules for a grade cluster, for instance, Advanced Elementary (English), wih one click. Once downloaded to your phone or tablet, you can open and read the modules anytime you want, even without Internet connection. Learners can study or review their lessons wherever they happen to be.
I would have liked for the modules to be organized by subject (Math, Science, Social Studies, etc.). Under the current set-up, modules are arranged alphabetically according to their titles. You’ll have to scroll through the titles or use the Search function to find what you’re looking for.
All in all, the DepEd AlS app is another commendable initiative from the Department of Education. I’m grateful for all the effort and resources that the DepEd has put into integrating mobile/computer technology with instructional delivery. Occasional missteps are inevitable,but I can see that the government is doing all it can with what it has in order to uphold every Filipino’s right to basic education.