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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gatchalian pokes DepEd to intensify ‘back to school’ campaign

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Citing an almost 11 million out-of-school children and youth (OSCY) in the country, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement an aggressive back-to-school campaign.

“It is important that we can reach our OSCY to give them the chance to receive an education,” said Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

The school-age children, except those in special cases, should be brought to the formal school system, according to the senator.

For our elderly students and out-of- school children in special cases, he said they can enroll in Alternative Learning System (ALS) so they would not be left behind and have a chance at determining a better future for themselves.

Gatchalian’s call followed the release of a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which revealed that 10.7 million children and youth aged 5 to 24 are OSCY. The PSA defines OSCY as individuals who are not attending formal school.

The PSA added that 68.5 percent of these 10.7 million OSCY are aged 20 to 24, 15.6 percent are aged 15 to 19, 12.3 percent are aged 5 to 9, and 3.7 percent are aged 10 to 14.

The senator pointed out that they can enroll in ALS, a parallel learning system that provides a viable alternative to the existing formal education instruction.

The ALS Law, enacted as Republic Act No. 11510, which Gatchalian authored and sponsored in the 19th Congress, institutionalized the ALS to give OSCY in special cases and adult learners a second chance to complete basic education.

Out-of-school children in special cases include learners with disabilities, indigenous peoples, children in conflict with the law, learners in emergency situations, and other marginalized sectors.

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