The United States government handed over P12 million worth of distance learning equipment to the Department of Education (DepEd) for its Alternative Learning System (ALS) e-Skwela Learning Centers to help the Philippines overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the education sector.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan handed over the assistance to DepEd ALS Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
Among the equipment donated by the US include desktop units, printers, projectors, wireless routers, and other necessary materials for ALS implementers and learners to execute distance learning programs. Other recipients of the donation are E-Skwela Centers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Angeles, Legazpi, and Davao.
“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,” Callahan said as he assured that the US government, through USAID, supports DepEd in reinvigorating education programs.
USAID has been supporting DepEd ALS’s continuity and COVID-19 response plan and the restoration of access to education for vulnerable out-of-school youth through its Opportunity 2.0 program.
“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,” said Assistant Secretary Ambat, adding that the USAID remains one of DepEd’s strongest partners, committed to supporting in improving the quality of basic education for Filipino youth.
“With this program, we’ll be able to keep up,” said Mayor Rosal about the city’s collaboration with USAID Opportunity 2.0.
As of June 2021, almost 16,000 out-of-school youth have benefitted from the new ALS modules. Over 2,500 ALS teachers and implementers have so far been trained on flexible delivery modalities nationwide.