By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To support the Philippines’ goal of improving the reading skills of one million early-grade students, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over 1.1-million supplementary books to the Department of Education (DepEd) for Kindergarten to Grade 3 (K-3) classroom libraries in Regions 1 (Ilocos) and 7 (Central Visayas).
The ceremonial turnover was held at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office recently as part of the “Basa Pilipinas” (Read Philippines) — USAID’s flagship basic education activity which supports the country’s goal to improve the reading skills of early-grade students.
Implemented by the Education Development Center, the “Basa Pilipinas” significantly contributes to DepEd’s goal of making every child a reader by training teachers and school heads on effective reading instruction, producing curriculum-based teaching and learning materials for use in early-grade classrooms, and strengthening the capacity of DepEd to effectively implement the language and literacy component of its K to 12 curriculum reforms.
DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Lorna Dig-Dino, on behalf of the department, expressed her gratitude to USAID for reaching out to 1.8-million K-3 learners, training 19,000 teachers, and granting P8-million worth of learning materials to 3,000 public schools. “This zeroes in on how important reading is, for all the kids and all of us,” she said.
Dino also shared her hopes that other regions in the country will “likewise be given access to the newly turned over supplementary books, and emphasized that developing reading and comprehension skills are prerequisites for learning 21st century skills.”
The 1.1-million copies of locally procured supplementary books in English and Filipino and in the mother tongue are intended for 8,137 Grades 2 and 3 classroom libraries in USAID-assisted schools in the two regions. The USAID-provided supplementary reading materials are aimed at enhancing the diversity, range and quality of children’s literature available to early-grade learners through classroom libraries.
Aside from the “Basa Pilipinas,” the USAID also finances two other projects in support of improving education governance, and manpower and youth development—the Mindanao Youth for Development (MYDev) and the Education Governance Effectiveness (EdGE).
Implemented in select areas in Mindanao, MYDev contributes to improving peace and stability in conflict-affected areas through increased access to education and livelihood training on Basic Education and Life Skills for 19,000 out-of-school youth. Meanwhile, the EdGE aims to enhance education governance in select schools, cities and municipalities nationwide. It has trained 6,122 school administrators and officials, and has provided guidance to hundreds of school governing councils and numerous local school boards.
Meanwhile, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski also lauded the “wonderful partnership” they have had with DepEd over the years. They have also been very active in promoting innovation in the Philippines, and in institutionalizing literacy instruction approaches and materials to deepen and sustain gains in reading achievements. “To have an educated country, we have to have a very educated public,” he said.
Directors Alma Ruby Torio of Region 1 and Juliet Jeruta of Region 7 personally acknowledged USAID’s assistance to their respective schools. Assistant Secretary and chief-of-staff Nepomuceno Malaluan and USAID Education Director Brian Levey also graced the event.
Tags: Department of Education, Education Development Center, Improving reading skills, Kindergarten to Grade 3 (K-3), Manila Bulletin, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), “Basa Pilipinas” (Read Philippines)