THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the ABC+ Project, and the Bangsamoro’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) recently launched the Beginning Reading Program for Bangsamoro Learners in Cotabato City.
The technology-based learning program will use tablets and Learn Kernel devices to deliver reading instruction to K to 3 children in Cotabato City and Maguindanao 2.
The program, which was also launched in Region VI, will contain ABC+ developed early grade reading materials, including video-based beginning reading instructional modules in the Magindanawan mother tongue. In the initial pilot phase, 120 tablets and 100 Learn Kernel devices will be distributed to schools with a high number of Grade 3 learners who need extra support in learning how to read.
“USAID is committed to support the educational goals of MBHTE because we believe the positive effects of education are far-reaching and that it serves as a driver for all other development and for the reduction of extreme poverty. We will continue to champion efforts to improve literacy in this region and in the Philippines in general,” USAID Philippines Director of Education Dr. Thomas LeBlanc said.
USAID, through the All Children Reading-Philippines Project (ACR-Ph) also handed over health and educational supplies to support face-to-face classes to a targeted 100 schools in Maguindanao. The health and sanitation supplies include face masks, hand sanitizers, liquid hand soaps, waste bags, disposables gloves, rapid antigen kits and viral transport medium kits, while sanitation equipment like oxygen concentrators and oxygen with regulators were also handed over.
These supplies and equipment were intended to ensure the safe return of children to school. The school supplies include pencils, notebooks, lapel microphones, and BIDA Kid kits. Over 900 sets of early grade reading materials were also handed over as part of USAID’s package of assistance.
“MBHTE would like to thank USAID, a long-time partner, for these additional support to our region. Education is very, very important to us and we are extremely thankful that USAID is supporting the use of our language. That is very critical to our continuing efforts to the recognition of our identity as Bangsamoro. We cannot address our education issues on our own. There are just too many gaps that we need to address and we need partners to do this with us. Thank you to USAID for the continuing support,” MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal.
During the same event, USAID also introduced the school-in-a-bag program for Bangsamoro learners. In partnership with SMART Communications and Philippine Business for Social Progress, USAID will provide 20 school-in-a-bag packages composed of 1 laptop and 10 tablets each for the use of schools in select geographically isolated, disadvantaged, and conflict-affected (GIDCA) areas in the region.
Through its ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines project, USAID is helping the MBHTE ensure that no Bangsamoro shall be left behind and children in that region of the Philippines will continue having access to quality education and learning, in any situation.