11.03.2019 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

UNESCO, DepEd, and KOICA Continue to Push for the Enhancement of Alternative Learning System in the Philippines

©UNESCO Jakarta

Manila, Philippines, 28 February 2019 – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Jakarta Office, the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) convened about 148 educators, partners, and stakeholders from all over the country for a National Forum on Alternative Learning System (ALS) entitled “NO ONE LEFT BEHIND: Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines — Hindsights, Insights, and Foresights.”

The National Forum provided a platform for national leaders in education, teachers, learners, policy-makers, experts and representatives from the civil society and the private sector to develop innovative and strategic approaches to effectively implement the ALS in the Philippines.

According to DepEd Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and Alternative Learning System, G.H. Ambat, reports says that majority of the out-of-school learners are females. However, based on data and from the accounts of ALS mobile teachers, there are more males enrolled in ALS classes than females, she added.

“If there are more girls dropping out of schools but there are more boys enrolled in ALS classes, where are the girls? If ALS is delivered free, why are they not going to our classes? That’s why we are conducting various efforts, together with our partners, to address this,” she said.
Moreover, G. H. Ambat underscored the role of the Department and its partners in uplifting the lives of all learners across the country: “The point of us being successful is so that we can help those who are having a hard time in becoming one. We, in DepEd, should be helping those who have been at the disadvantage from the time that they are born, regardless of their gender or by their ethnic roots.”

DepEd Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations Jesus LR Mateo highlighted the rollout of the enhanced ALS curriculum, in line with the 10-point agenda of DepEd under the administration of Secretary Leonor Magtolis

“DepEd has been pursuing reforms in ALS in order for it to be aligned with the K to 12 curriculum in formal education. We are now rolling out the version 2.0 of ALS program which is substantially different from the existing one. There are changes in the system components, particularly in learning materials, learning delivery system, learning environment, learning assessment, certification system, and in the system support component,” Jesus LR Mateo explained.

UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines Secretary-General Lila Ramos Shahani acknowledge that because of DepEd’s programs last year, the number of out-of-school children and youth has gone down to 9% of the nation’s 39.2 million school-aged children and youth. Still, what we face here today, staggeringly enough, is the more than three-and-a-half million out of school girls in this country alone, she added.

Moreover, Lila Ramos Shahani recognized and welcomed the partnership of DepEd, UNESCO Jakarta Office, and KOICA in advocacy to help girls. She also highlighted that this forum is a testament to our commitment to better the lives of one of the most disenfranchised sectors of our society.

KOICA President Honorable Lee Mikyung highlighted that as part of two countries’ close relationship, KOICA will work together with UNESCO to support the Philippine Education Department’s initiative for education reform and the ALS

Moreover, she shared that girls will be provided with opportunities to complete their basic education and the learning center in Tacloban where a super typhoon stroke in 2013 will contribute to enhancing their basic rights to learn. I would like to deliver my appreciation to ALS teachers for building a strong partnership with ALS students for you are the one who helped them dream their future, she added.

“In 2017, we started embarking on this collective journey with DepEd and KOICA to help improve lives of out-of school girls in the Philippines. With this partnership, we aim to take brave and transformative steps to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in education, specifically in the area of Alternative Learning System. We, at UNESCO, are committed to ensure that this project, up to its completion, will remain human rights-based, gender-sensitive, and people-centered, giving particular focus on the needs of girl-learners considered to be part of the poorest, most vulnerable, and those further behind,” said Dr. Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative of UNESCO Jakarta Office.

The project “Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines” strives to: increase the passing rate among out-of-school girls in the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test; enhance the ALS national curriculum; improve teaching and learning materials being utilized for the program; and provide life-skills training to mobile teachers and ALS girl-learners. In addition, a Girls Education Center will be established within the compound of DepEd Regional Office VIII-Eastern Visayas —the pilot location of the project. The project, worth USD 6 million, is made possible by the generous support from the Government of the Republic of Korea, through KOICA.

DepEd, UNESCO and KOICA expressed appreciation to each other for the continued and unwavering support and cooperation. It is with sincere hope that this project will further create a sustainable change in the lives of the children especially geared toward the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating education for all.

Also present in this national forum are H. E. Mr. Han Dongman, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines; Dr. Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros, DepEd Director IV for International Cooperation; Dr. Marilette Almayda, DepEd Director III for Bureau of Learning Delivery; Dr. Ramir Uytico, DepEd OIC-Director of Regional Office VIII-Eastern Visayas; Mr. Kim Junmo, Director of KOICA Southeast Asia Department II; Ms. Kim Gyungah, Manager of KOICA Southeast Asia Department II; Mr. Lee Seungchul, Program Officer from KOICA Office of the President; Mr. Shin Myung Seop, KOICA Philippine Office Country Director; Ms. Paik Seunghwa, KOICA Philippine Office Assistant Country Director; Dr. Mee Young Choi, Head of Education Unit of UNESCO Jakarta Office; Mr. Roberto Manalo, Executive Director, United Nations and Other International Organisations of Department of Foreign Affairs.

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