The purpose of this section is to outline existing legislation and policies relevant to the implementation and institutionalization of the Barangay Literacy Worker Program. These policies range in nature from international conventions (i.e. UNESCO’s “Education for All”), to the Camarines Sur Provincial BLW Ordinance. Insofar as the policies clarify the normative values underpinning the BLW Program, as well as its legal foundations, ALS implementers and stakeholders should take the time to read and understand them. They will be particularly useful should ALS implementers ever need to advocate for the Program at a Sangguniang Barangay, Sangguniang Bayan, or Sangguniang Panlalawigan session.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution and Republic Acts 9155 and 10122
The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines asserts that “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.” This obligation involves encouraging “non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems” and providing “adult citizens, the disabled, and out-of-school youth with training in civics, vocational efficiency, and other skills.”1 By way of executing the State’s educational obligations, several Republic Acts have been passed by the Philippine Congress. Republic Acts are pieces of legislation “used to create policy in order to carry out the principles of the Constitution.”2
There are two key Republic Acts that ALS implementers should be aware of, and can use, to support the implementation of the BLW Program in their districts. These are: (1) Republic Act 9155 – Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001; and (2) Republic Act 10122. The rationale for the Barangay Literacy Worker Program is reflected in these legislative documents.
Republic Act 9155, known as the “Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001” states:
It is hereby declared the policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality basic education and to make such education accessible to all by providing all Filipino children a free and compulsory education in the elementary level and free education in the high school level. Such education shall also include alternative learning systems for out-of-school youth and adult learners. It shall be the goal of basic education to provide them with the skills, knowledge and values they need to become caring, self-reliant, productive and patriotic citizens. […] The State shall encourage local initiatives for improving the quality of basic education. The State shall ensure that the values, needs and aspirations of a school community are reflected in the program of education for the children, out-of-school youth and adult learners.3
The Act itself aims to achieve a number of specific practical goals, including the establishment of schools and learning centers where “out-of-school youth and adult learners are provided alternative learning programs and receive accreditation for at least the equivalent of a high school education”.4
Republic Act 10122 is an amendment of Republic Act 7165. The latter, passed in 1991, served to create the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), an inter-agency body administratively attached to the Department of Education and tasked with nationalizing the formulation of literacy policies.5 The Republic Act 10122, passed in 2009, strengthens the LCC and updates its powers and functions. It asserts that the policy of the State is “to give the highest priority to the adoption of measures for the universalization of literacy.” Consequently, the stated duty of the LCC is to “encourage and rationalize the formulation of policies and the implementation of programs on non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning, independent, and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs.”6
Republic Act 10632, also known as the “Act to Postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on October 28, 2013, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9340, and for Other Purposes”, mandates how Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Funds can be used. Section 1 of the Act states that of the funds allocated to the SK from the barangay’s IRA, ten (10) per cent shall be set aside for youth development programs and projects. Section 2 specifies that youth development programs and projects can include out-of-school youth programs, as well as any initiative aimed at capacity-building, such as employability skills training, youth camps, and value formation and citizenship seminars. District ALS Coordinators (DALSCs) and Mobile Teachers (MTs) can ask their barangays to fund BLW honoraria through the SK Fund.
The Philippines is one of 164 countries that joined the “Education for All” (EFA) movement initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1990. The EFA agenda outlined six goals to be achieved by the year 2015. One of these goals was to attain universal coverage of out-of-school youth and adults with regard to basic education.7 Despite failing to achieve EFA targets within UNESCO’s designated timeframe, the Philippine government and DepEd remain committed to the principles of the EFA movement.
In the Philippine Education for All 2015: Review Report, DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) was identified as the organization responsible for eliminating illiteracy amongst out-of-school youth and adults.8 BALS introduced a range of programs and strategies and enjoyed some important successes in terms of reaching those Filipinos who, often due to financial hardship or early marriage, have dropped out of the formal school system.9 As of February 2016, BALS has been absorbed into DepEd’s Bureau of Learning Delivery as part of a rationalization process.
However, according to the Philippine Education for All 2015 report, the ALS budget is “less than 1.0 per cent of the annual allocation for basic education” and is stretched beyond reasonable limits with only one ALS implementer for every 68 learners.10 The Barangay Literacy Worker Program is a cost-effective means of bridging the gap between the limited supply of ALS implementers and the growing problem of illiteracy. In 2008, DepEd reported that 15 million Filipinos are either illiterate or neo-literate, and 5.6 million children (6-12 years) and youth (12-15 years) have dropped out of the formal school system.11 These numbers are predicted to increase as the population grows.12 Strengthening and expanding the Barangay Literacy Worker Program will improve DepEd’s chances of achieving EFA goals by ensuring that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of Filipino society have the opportunity to continue their education.
Provincial Ordinance No. 056 of 2015 Series
The Provincial Ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur is entitled:
An ordinance institutionalizing the Alternative Learning System (ALS) in the barangays of the province of Camarines Sur; prescribing guidelines in the establishment of the respective local literacy coordinating councils for the province, the component municipalities, the City of Iriga, and the barangays; mandating the appointment of the Barangay Literacy Worker in the barangays; providing funds for their implementation and for other purposes.
In this manual, it will be referred to simply as the ‘Provincial BLW Ordinance’ or ‘Provincial Ordinance’. The passing of the Provincial BLW Ordinance provides guidelines for the establishment of Literacy Coordinating Councils (LCCs) at the provincial, municipal, and barangay levels, and mandates the appointment of Barangay Literacy Workers in every barangay. In order to “promote and enhance basic education”, the Provincial Ordinance aims to encourage education as a means of empowerment, institutionalize ALS to increase access by the underprivileged, encourage further involvement of all partners and agencies in literacy projects, and work towards the reduction, if not elimination, of illiteracy.
In accordance with the Provincial Ordinance, LCCs are to be established within Camarines Sur. LCCs are intended to encourage, facilitate, and monitor alternative education at the barangay, municipal, and provincial levels. They are the core literacy implementing units, charged with enabling the creation of Learning Centers, as well as all other necessary and proper functions required for the facilitation of ALS programs, in particular the BLW Program.
The Provincial Ordinance also mandates the creation of the Barangay Literacy Worker position, stating that the BLW shall receive an honorarium of no less than one thousand pesos (PHP1,000) per month, to be funded by the barangay or a cluster of barangays. In the case where the barangay cannot financially support a BLW, funds may be sourced from municipal or provincial governments.
Importantly for ALS implementers, the Provincial Ordinance also contains a “Liability Clause”, which serves as an enforcement measure. It states that any person or juridical body “found violating any provision of this Ordinance by inaction or otherwise, shall be administratively liable upon proper hearing.” Thus, should a DALSC or MT experience unjustified refusals by Barangay Councils or LGUs to support and fund the BLW Program, they can refer to the Liability Clause to influence these stakeholders to fulfil their legislative duties and obligations. Provincial BLW Ordinance
Municipal Resolution to Adopt Provincial Ordinance
Barangay Resolution to Adopt Provincial Ordinance
DepEd CamSur Memorandum No. 40 s. 2016
A memorandum has been issued by the Camarines Sur Schools Division Superintendent outlining the commitment of DepEd CamSur to implement the Provincial Ordinance No. 056 of the 2015 Series. The primary aims of Memorandum No 40 s. 2016, therefore, are to provide a rationale for establishing the Barangay Literacy Worker Program, to outline the benefits of its implementation, and to define DepEd CamSur’s responsibilities to ensure its success. The memorandum also explains the relationship between DepEd CamSur and the Provincial, Municipal, and Barangay Literacy Coordinating Councils (PLCC, MLCCs, and BLCCs).
The memorandum contains six core policy statements, guaranteeing DepEd CamSur’s commitment to (1) institutionalize the BLW Program through the municipalities of Camarines Sur; (2) provide human investment in the BLW Program at all levels of the DepEd, Camarines Sur; (3) ensure that information relating to the BLW Program is available to all relevant stakeholders; (4) ensure that objectives, outcomes, and impacts of the BLW Program are monitored and evaluated; (5) engage with local and provincial government partners to implement the BLW Program; and (6) actively support provincial awareness and advocacy events.
The memorandum is a strong statement of DepEd CamSur’s responsibilities to promote and improve the Barangay Literacy Worker Program throughout the province. It reflects the Provincial BLW Ordinance and is another important institutional step towards ensuring that every person in every barangay has the knowledge of, access to, and the opportunity to participate in DepEd’s Alternative Learning System. DepEd CamSur Memorandum No. 40 s. 2016
BLW Management Responsibilities
As the BLW Program gradually gains momentum in each municipality, a large number of BLW volunteer staff will join the ALS workforce. Existing staff will be required to take on more managerial responsibilities to ensure the success of these new ALS implementers. Likewise, with the formation of the Literacy Coordinating Councils (LCCs), representatives from local government units will now have the opportunity to have more control over, and responsibility for, the improvement of literacy levels within their communities.
The purpose of this section is to give an overview of the organizational hierarchy of DepEd’s Alternative Learning System from DepEd’s Schools Division Superintendent down to the Barangay Literacy Workers, and to clarify the operation of the BLW Program through the provincial, municipal, and barangay levels of government. The information contained in this section is an overview of the responsibilities of, and relationships between, all those involved in the implementation of the BLW Program.
Within DepEd CamSur, the ALS team is managed by the ALS Division Supervisor who reports to the Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur. The ALS Division Supervisor is supported by Education Program Specialists for ALS (EPSAs) whose current responsibilities include providing technical support and monitoring and reporting on their assigned districts. Each EPSA is assigned 4 or 5 districts.
One District ALS Coordinator (DALSC) and one Mobile Teacher (MT) are assigned per school district. Both report to the ALS Division Supervisor for matters related to ALS, and on site are supervised by the Public Schools District Supervisor (PSDS) in their district. While the DALSC and MT usually share the load for ALS management tasks and for teaching responsibilities, only one will be in charge of the BLW Program. Either the DALSC or the MT will be assigned by the ALS Division Supervisor as Barangay Literacy Worker Focal Person (BLWFP). The BLWFP will take primary responsibility for recruiting, training, and supervising BLWs, and acting as the Head Secretariat of the Municipal Literacy Coordinating Council (MLCC).