US bestows ₧23M of books for young Bicolano learners

Department of Education-Region V Director Gilbert Sadsad (from left) and USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator LeAnna Marr lead the handover of classroom reading materials at Tabaco North Central Elementary School in Albay.

THE United States government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), recently provided P23 million ($392,000) worth of early-grade reading materials to the Department of Education (DepEd) in Bicol.

The handover was led by visiting USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator LeAnna Marr as part of her visit to the Philippines in October to strengthen US-Philippine partnerships in the education sector.

 Marr, who serves as acting senior coordinator of US International Basic Education Assistance, also met beneficiaries of USAID-sponsored programs focused on youth development, plus out-of-school youth (OSY) education and employment. In addition to Bicol, she also visited Sorsogon and Manila, where US government programs support enhancing the quality of education for Filipino children.

 In Sorsogon, she visited a USAID-supported inclusive education community resource center and participated in a storytelling session for visually impaired children that was also translated into Filipino Sign Language for hearing-impaired kids. Supporting inclusive education for children of all abilities, the agency has trained teachers in inclusive education strategies, developed inclusive education materials, and helped establish a disability screening and referral system that has more than tripled the enrollment of children with disabilities in project areas.

 In Manila, Marr joined DepEd officials and witnessed a memorandum of understanding signing by USAID Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn and United Nations Children’s Fund Country Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov to formalize a new partnership in education between the two agencies. Both agreed to closely coordinate efforts to improve the quality of early-grade learning, advance second-chance education for OSY, promote learning continuity, and explore opportunities to expand existing education initiatives. 

“We at USAID recognize that we can only fully and successfully advance inclusive and resilient growth if we work together with local actors and like-minded partners,” said Washburn. “By collaborating and leveraging [on] each other’s unique resources, assets and skill set, we are able to strengthen our support to the Philippine government as it addresses challenges in the education sector.”

Image credits: US Embassy


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