MANILA — The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill establishing the open high school system in the Philippines to provide an alternative mode of a formal secondary education program for elementary school graduates and high school dropouts.
Rep. Kimi Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan), author of the bill and chairperson of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, said the measure will ensure the accessibility of education services to all Filipino citizens in its various modalities, including out-of-school study programs for primary and secondary levels, particularly those that respond to community needs, promoting further the welfare of the nation.
“The measure will provide equal opportunity for adults and children of high school age who are out of school to avail of free open high school education through the distance learning modality,” Cojuangco said.
The main authors of House Bill 4085, to be known as the Open High School System Act, are Reps. Neptali Gonzales II (Lone District, Mandaluyong City) and Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City).
Gonzales said an Open High School System (OHSS) is a system of delivering educational services to high school students utilizing print, radio, television and computer-based communications, satellite broadcasting, teleconferencing, and other multi-media learning and teaching technologies that allow students to study on their own without having to regularly attend classes in conventional classrooms.
“The State declares its policy to broaden access to relevant quality education through the employment of an alternative learning system that would enable the youth, including adults, to overcome geographical, socioeconomic and or physical constraints to encourage them to complete secondary education,” Gonzales said.
The measure shall establish an Open High School System (OHSS) as part of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) alternative secondary education program.
Under the bill, all youths and adults who have finished elementary education as well as high school qualifiers under the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) are covered by the proposed system.
The measure shall adopt the National Secondary Education Curriculum (NSEC) using the Philippine Secondary Schools Learning Competencies (PSSC).
Recruited teachers and support personnel in the OHSS shall receive incentives, monetary compensation, honoraria and would be trained in relevant programs.
The DepEd, the UP-Open Educational System and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are encouraged to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that specifies their respective roles to ensure maximum cooperation and success in the operation of the OHSS.
Also, private education institutions are encouraged to establish their own privately-funded distance learning centers following standards and criteria, subject to approval of the DepEd.