As part of the United States’ commitment to supporting early grade learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) turned over 25 laptop computers and 479 tablets to the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd).
At a ceremony held at the DepEd Central Office on September 6, USAID Philippines Office of Education Director Dr. Thomas LeBlanc handed the school equipment over to DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan of the Office of the Secretary and Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio of the Office of Curriculum and Instruction.
In his remarks, LeBlanc said that “despite the pandemic situation, we hope to promote learning among young children while at the same time support the innovative practices of teachers and schools in creating technology-aided learning experiences.”
The laptops and tablets will be distributed to select schools in Regions 5, 6, and to schools associated with the authors of the MTB-MLE interactive Primers developed using the Kotobee software purchased by USAID for DepEd last year.
The tablets will be loaded with eResources in an easy-to-use navigation system allowing for offline use. Additionally, USAID will test a model of teacher-directed continuous assessment supported by targeted resources for early reading improvement to be implemented in 2021 to 2022 school year.
“This gesture is a product of a partnership that we have on learning continuity and contains both substance and the building of the learning spaces of this time. In this situation, there are many learning gains, and this is what we must be able to harness and build for the future,” according to Undersecretary Malaluan.
Undersecretary San Antonio added that “we are very grateful to USAID for this support. This will definitely spell the difference between mediocrity and excellence in delivering basic education services.”
This assistance is part of USAID’s All Children Reading, a four-year, Php250-million project that supports DepEd in improving reading outcomes for early grade learners. USAID focuses on impact, scale, and sustainability through the provision of evidence and capacity-building activities for the successful implementation of strategic early grade reading initiatives.