THE United States recently donated distance learning equipment to the Department of Education (DepEd) for the Alternative Learning System’s (ALS) e-Skwela learning centers.
The US Embassy in Manila said Thursday that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) virtually turned over on July 14 more than P12 million, or about $240,000, worth of kits to DepEd ALS Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat and Mayor Noel E. Rosal of Legazpi City.
“The US government, through USAID, is here to support DepEd in reinvigorating education programs,” USAID Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan said. “We are working hard so that vulnerable, out-of-school youth [OSY] who have stopped schooling due to the pandemic are given the opportunity and tools to adapt, grow, and have a better tomorrow.”
Included in the aid were 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 beneficiaries.
Through its Opportunity 2.0 program, USAID had been supporting the ALS’s continuity amid the pandemic by helping restore access to education for vulnerable OSY.
“The…pandemic worsened the [OSY’s] lack of access to education. This has magnified their vulnerability, leaving them less able to pursue education and progress toward 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.”
In 2020 the American aid agency also assisted DepEd in developing self-paced ALS modules and trained ALS teachers in delivering new content using modern modalities to overcome pandemic-related challenges.
As of June 2021 almost 16,000 OSYs have benefited from these new modules, while more than 2,500 ALS teachers and implementers have been trained on flexible delivery modalities nationwide.