US donates ₱126 million to DepEd's distance education program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 18, 2020) — The Department of Education's remote education program is set to get a boost from ₱126 million in aid the United States government is providing for the scheme's implementation this coming school year.

“The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, remains committed to ensuring young students have the opportunity to continue to learn despite the challenges that COVID-19 has created,” USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy said in a statement on Thursday announcing the assistance.

DepEd earlier asked for gadget donations for distance learning. The department also previously revealed that it has suffered an over P8-billion budget cut; the amount was realigned for the country’s COVID-19 response.

More than 27.7 million Filipino children and youth are at risk of significant learning loss due to extended school closures and disruptions during the pandemic, with those at early grade levels being particularly vulnerable, USAID warned.

The primary level is also a "critical stage in young children’s education as they develop literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills, which are foundations for lifelong learning," the agency said.

With these in mind, USAID said it would assist Philippine education officials in providing teachers with instruction strategies and learning materials designed for use at home and in a classroom setting.

USAID added that it would aid DepEd in developing user-friendly assessment tools for educators to gauge their student’s learning competency.

It also vowed to partner with the private sector and local media to “disseminate advice through radio broadcasts and other platforms on how to help children continue learning during school closures.”

DepEd has postponed face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said that once the school year opens on August 24, the delivery of lessons could be done through the use of online portal DepEd Commons, television, radio and learning modules and packets both in print and digital format.