It was just only recently (July 9, 2015 to be exact) that the Republic Act 10665 was signed by Pres. Benigno Aquino III. Republic Act 10665 or the Open High School System Bill has been around for almost a decade. It was piloted by the Department of Education sometime last 2006 (see the DepEd memorandum on the pilot here). It has then been co-authored by different congress members and senators last 2008 and 2010. It had it's 3rd and Final Reading in Congress last 2014, and was finally signed by the president on July 2015.
Republic Act 10665 or the Open High School System Act is a law that allows secondary school students to learn at their own time, their preferred place, and their own pace. The main purpose of this Act is to encourage the youth and adults who have personal, geographical, socio-economic, and physical constraints that deter them from attending formal schooling, to complete their secondary education.
The OHSS (as it is abbreviated) allows students under its program to learn through different, non-formal modes of instruction like the following:
- Computer-based learning
- Other Multi-media and technology-based learning approaches
The goal of the program is to have the students pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test and the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Test. Passers of the tests are then given a certificate signifying that they have the competencies as comparable to the graduates of formal school systems - a high school diploma.
Another provision of Republic Act 10665 is that the government will fund these initiatives. The plan is to establish "mother schools" or "Inang Paaralan" (a designated secondary school in a district or region) that will host Learning Centers. The learning center then has all the necessary tools for the OHSS student to do his or her research/work. Moreover, these centers will also be the place where students enroll, get evaluated, and engage with face-to-face instruction with the designated teachers. Private schools can also set-up their own learning centers with their own funding -
Aside from the facilities, teachers will also be deployed to be part of this program. A learning center will have 3 types of teachers to cater to the needs of the OHSS students. The first is the OHSS teacher - he or she is overall in-charge of the center's students' instruction, their evaluation, and their progress. The second type of instructor is the Teacher Adviser or "Gurong Tagapatnubay" who will serve as a guidance counselor for the program's participants. Finally, the learning center will also have a "Source Person" or a "Gurong Kadluan" - someone with specialized skills to teach practical or industrial subjects like tailoring, auto-mechanics, and handicraft, to name a few.
You can view the signed Act in it's entirety here.
You can view the proposed bill from Congress here.
You can view the proposed bill from Senate here.
Here's a report from our friends over at the Sonshine Media Network, Int'l further explaining what the Open High School System Bill (now Act) can do for us.
2 ways, I guess.
First, the RA 10665 will give us more experts in the edtech industry. The OHSS Act will force more schools (especially the "mother schools") to employ different educational technologies. Since the teachers would need to employ appropriate instructional approaches for non-formal training, it is a big requirement for them to be more knowledgeable about edtech. With that being said, there is a very big opportunity here to educate more teachers about the advantages and benefits of educational technology. Furthermore, implementing the program means that the Department of Education is obliged to train these educators - thus, increasing experts (and maybe advocates) in the industry.
Second, the act should affect the Philippine edtech industry in a very positive way by encouraging entrepreneurs to engage the industry. The current state of edtech here is that there are only a handful of companies providing edtech services/products to 24M students, 60,000 schools, and 655,000 teachers in the K-12 System. With RA 10665 being implemented, we might see an additional 3-5M more students set to undergo the program. Question is - who's going to provide services (like software, curriculum design, learning modules) to all of those students, schools, and teachers?
So, there you go. I hope I was able to give you a better picture of what RA 10665 is and how it can affect our industry. If you have any questions, comments, or experiences you'd like to share about OHSS or the ALS, please let us know through the comments field below. Cheers!