US sends DepEd P27-M in school supplies for Bicol region


August 30, 2022 | 12:23 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has donated 27 million pesos ($489,000) worth of school supplies to the Bicol region as face-to-face classes resume after two years of distance learning due to the pandemic.

This would be the first batch of learning materials the Philippines will receive from the United States for this school year.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) donated more than 540,000 “early grade reading materials” to the Bicol Region Department of Education as part of the Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+) from USAID.

The handover ceremony that took place on August 22 was attended by officials from both agencies and representatives of the Sto. Domingo Central School and Salvacion Elementary School in Albay.

“We are working with DepEd to ensure children returning to school have access to learning resources appropriate to their age and context,” said USAID Director of Education in the Philippines, Dr. Thomas LeBlanc.

USAID’s ABC+ project aims to distribute more than 1.2 million early education reading materials to 7,000 public schools in Bicol, Western Visayas, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao over the next coming months.

The project aims to reach 1.2 million Filipino children. The value of the ABC+ project is estimated at 63 million pula ($1.123 million).

The United States will donate picture books, storybooks, and level readers written in English and Filipino “to fill gaps in young learners’ reading practices and help students in kindergarten through 3rd grade to develop basic reading skills”.

LILY: Philippines needs more investment in school infrastructure – PIDS

According to the 2022 joint report by the World Bank, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UN) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the The learning poverty rate in the Philippines was 90.9% in 2019.

This means that 90.9% of Filipino children cannot read simple text with comprehension by the age of 10.

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Filipino children resumed face-to-face classes this year, more than two years after educational institutions were temporarily closed in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, the online distance learning program adopted due to the pandemic has also widened the country’s learning gap. — Kaycee Valmonte

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