MANILA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) donated over PHP12 million (USD240,000) worth of distance learning equipment to the Department of Education (DepEd) for its Alternative Learning System (ALS) e-Skwela learning centers, the US Embassy in Manila said Thursday.
The agency virtually turned over the assistance on July 14 to DepEd ALS Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal.
“The US government, through USAID, is here to support DepEd in reinvigorating education programs. We are working hard so that vulnerable, out-of-school youth who have stopped schooling due to the pandemic are given the opportunity and tools to adapt, grow, and have a better tomorrow,” USAID Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan said.
Included in the donations are desktop units, printers, projectors, wireless routers, and other necessary materials for ALS implementers and learners to execute distance learning programs.
According to the Embassy, e-Skwela centers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Angeles, Legazpi, and Davao will be among the aid's beneficiaries.
Through its Opportunity 2.0 program, USAID had been supporting ALS’s continuity amid the pandemic by helping restore access to education for vulnerable out-of-school youth.
“The Covid-19 pandemic worsened the out-of-school youth’s lack of access to education. This has magnified their vulnerability, leaving them less able to pursue education and progress towards better economic opportunities for themselves and their families," Ambat said.
"We are happy that USAID remains one of DepEd’s strongest partners, committed to supporting us in improving the quality of basic education for Filipino youth,” she added.
In 2020, the American aid agency also assisted DepEd in developing self-paced ALS modules and trained ALS teachers to deliver this new content using new modalities to overcome pandemic-related challenges.
As of June 2021, almost 16,000 out-of-school youth have benefited from these new modules while over 2,500 ALS teachers and implementers have been trained on flexible delivery modalities nationwide. (PNA)