By: Raydes B. Barcia

Legazpi City —The United States government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided P27 million or ($489,000) worth of instructional materials for 540,000 pupils in Bicol region.

Jennifer Crow, USAID Philippines acting deputy mission director and USAID Philippines education director Dr. Thomas LeBlanc led the handover alongside DepEd Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad and other education officials at the Sto. Domingo Central School and Salvacion Elementary School in Albay province on August 22.

“We are working with DepEd so that children who are returning to school have access to age- and context-appropriate learning resources. Our presence here today affirms USAID’s support and commitment to our shared vision of improving education outcomes for Filipino children,” LeBlanc said.

 These books represent the first batch of materials that USAID is providing to DepEd this school year as part of USAID’s Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+) project.

The reading materials were given to the children as they return to school in person for the first time in more than two years.

The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), handed over 540,000 early grade reading materials valued at P 27 million ($489,000) to the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Bicol region.

These reading materials, which include picture books, storybooks, and leveled readers, are written in mother tongue languages, English, and Filipino to address gaps in the reading practices of young learners and help students in kindergarten through grade 3 develop foundational reading skills.

More than 1.2 million early grade reading materials will be distributed to close to 7,000 public schools in Region V (Bicol), Region VI (Western Visayas), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the coming months to benefit 1.2 million Filipino children, bringing the total value of support through the ABC+ project to P 63 million ($1,123,000).

Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd regional director lauded the assistance given by the US government through the USAID for Bicolano children as it will greatly help out the pupils here specifically that many reading materials were destroyed due to three stronger typhoons that hit in Bicol specifically in Albay and Catanduanes on October and November 2020.

“The continued support given by USAID’s ABC+ project inspires us.  As we receive help from stakeholders, we Bicolanos can give more for the sake of education,” DepEd Regional Director Sadsad said. 

“We superintendents, assistant schools division superintendents, chiefs, and everyone must really lead in implementing these programs,” the DepEd official said.

These materials were developed in collaboration with DepEd to ensure quality and relevance to Filipino early grade learners.

For the past two school years, USAID, through the ABC+ project in partnership with DepEd, has already distributed over 11 million copies of reading materials to kindergarten to grade 3 children in the three regions covered by the program.

(Photo from/The Philippine Star) 

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