In my previous post, I wrote a primer on independent homeschooling in the Philippines. If your child wants to go to college at the end of your indie journey, there are several ways to do that. The most popular method among indie families is to enroll in the Department of Education (DepEd)’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program and take the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test.
This Q&A is for indie families who are interested to choose this route.
- What is the ALS Program?
Basically, it’s a way for out-of-school youth and adult (OSYA) — DepEd’s official term for people who did not complete formal education — to earn the equivalent of a diploma. If you’re familiar with the US GED, it’s similar to that. The ALS Program is how People’s Champ Senator Manny Pacquiao got his diploma. Here’s a picture of an actual ALS Secondary Level diploma from 2013 (equivalent to a high school diploma):
As learners who are not in the formal education system, independent homeschoolers are technically viewed by DepEd as OSYA.
- How much does it cost?
The ALS Program is FREE.
- Wow! So how do we sign up?
You enroll at a Community Learning Center (CLC). There are several different levels; the ones relevant to homeschoolers are:
|Advanced Elementary||8 to 10 months||For those who want to stop homeschooling at Grade 6 level and go to JHS|
|Junior High School (JHS)||2 years||For those who want to stop homeschooling at Grade 10 level and go to SHS|
|Senior High School (SHS)||Not yet implemented||For those who want to stop homeschooling at Grade 12 level and go to college|
DepEd is still working on the SHS Level program. In the meantime, indie kids will have to actually attend a regular two-year SHS to be eligible for college.
- Where can we find a CLC?
- What happens after we finish the program?
You take the corresponding A&E Test, which is administered once a year. Here are the age requirements as per DepEd Memorandum 2019-006:
|Level||Age on Test Day|
|Elementary||At least 12 years old|
|JHS||At least 16 years old|
|SHS||Not yet implemented|
- What’s the test like?
DepEd is continuously tweaking the A&E Test, but as it stands right now, it’s a multiple-choice examination with a 60% passing rate. Here are the languages used in the A&E Test for each Learning Strand as per DO 2019-013:
|Communication Skills||Filipino and English|
|Scientific and Critical Thinking Skills||English|
|Mathematical and Problem Solving Skills||English|
|Life and Career Skills||Filipino or English|
|Understanding Self and Society||Filipino or English|
- Is the test hard?
We spoke with an actual indie teen who passed the Secondary Level a few years ago, and the way she describes the program, it’s somewhat akin to going to a review center to prepare for a board exam. Mock exams similar to the actual A&E Test are given every so often to train you for the real thing. If you have a good foundation and study hard, it won’t be difficult to pass the test.
- What happens after we pass the test?
As per DO 2019-013, learners will have to submit a “presentation portfolio” and a “learning project” in addition to passing the A&E Test in order to get their diplomas. However, this is not yet being implemented as of this writing. As it stands right now, you will get your diploma after passing the A&E Test.