March 16, 1999 – DO 28, s. 1999 – Revised Policy Framework for the Implementation of Nonformal Education Programs
March 16, 1999
DO 28, s. 1999
Revised Policy Framework for the Implementation of Nonformal Education Programs
To:   Regional Directors
Bureau Directors
Schools Superintendents
Heads of Private Schools
1.   The Bureau of Nonformal Education (BNFE) is mandated to set national standards and a national policy framework for the implementation of nonformal education programs of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Pursuant to this mandate, the following policy clarifications/revisions are hereby issued:
1.1   The target learners of the DECS Nonformal Education programs are Filipinos 15 years old and above who are:
  • Out-of-School-Youth (OSY) and Adults
  • Functional Illiterates
  • Unemployed OSY and adults
  • Elementary and secondary school drop-outs
  • Industry-based workers
  • Differently-abled
  • Members of cultural communities
1.2   A new national definition of functional literacy has recently been developed by the Literacy Coordinating Council, necessitating a revision of the definitions and competency parameters of the old UNESCO literacy levels. Under this new national definition functional literacy is defined as:
“A range of skills and competencies – cognitive, affective and behavioral — which enables individuals to:
  • live and work as human persons
  • develop their potential
  • make critical and informed decisions
  • function effectively in society within the context of their environment and that of the wider community (local, regional, national, global) in order to improve the quality of their life and that of society.”
   A set of major indicators of functional literacy accompany this expanded definition of functional literacy, detailing the range of competencies an adult Filipino citizen will need to possess to function effectively in Filipino society as it enters the 21st century (see Inclosure 1 for a copy of these Major Indicators of Functional Literacy)
1.3.   To date, the DECS-NFE has been making use of the generic UNESCO levels of literacy in the absence of any literacy levels or literacy competency profiles specific to the context of the Philippines. The Bureau of Nonformal Education (BNFE) has developed new competency profiles for three levels of literacy built around the new definition of functional literacy which can be broadly described as:
  • Basic Literacy Level – illiterate level for those who have no literacy skills and the first step to basic/simple literacy towards functional literacy
  • Elementary Level – semi-literate level for the reinforcement of basic reading, writing and numeracy skills to a self-sustaining (neo-literate level)
  • Secondary Level – adequately functionally literate or self-learning level for continuing education

2.   As part of the Nonformal Education Accreditation and Equivalency component of the ADB-assisted Philippines Nonformal Education Project, the essential competencies of each of these three levels of literacy have been defined and formulated into a Nonformal Education Accreditation and Equivalency (NFE A&E) Curriculum Framework. The learning competencies of the three literacy levels which are specified in the NFE A&E Curriculum Framework shall henceforth be used for all literacy programs of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (see Inclosure No. 2 for details regarding competencies of the NFE A&E Curriculum Framework).The BNFE will provide all Regional and Division Offices with copies of the NFE A&E Curriculum Framework.

3.   Nonformal education differs from formal education in terms of its target learners, learning strategies, delivery mechanisms and philosophical frame of reference. These differences are reflected in the terminologies and concepts used by both educational systems. In order to clarify these differences DECS Nonformal Education implementors are referred to the following list of contrasting terminologies between formal and nonformal education:

Academic Focus
Functional Focus
Learning Center
Instructional Manager/Facilitator
Learning Group/Session
Learning Strand
Grade/Year Level
Levels of Literacy
Learning Materials/Modules
Lesson Plan
Session Guide
Teacher’s Manual
Facilitator’s Guide
DECS officials and NFE implementers are required to use the appropriate terminology to describe nonformal education activities to ensure consistency with the andragogical, learner-centered and flexible learning approach of the New Nonformal Education.
4.   In order to ensure consistency of spelling and terminology usage in documents of the DECS, the term nonformal should be a single word and unhyphenated, i.e., nonformal not non-formal nor non formal.

5.   Inclosed are the Major Indicators of Functional Literacy and Other Information About the NFE A&E Curriculum Framework

6.   Immediate and wide dissemination of this Order is desired.
As stated
DECS Order: No. 22, s. 1999 DECS
Memorandum: No. 204, s. 1998
Allotment: 1—(D.O, 50-97)
To be indicated in the Perpetual Index
under the following subjects: