US to give P126 million for Philippine education during coronavirus crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2020 09:09 AM

An incoming Grade 11 student, tries to find a signal from the second level of their home in Parola, Tondo, Manila on June 16, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The US said Tuesday it would give Php126 million to help the Philippine government implement its basic education plan for the coronavirus pandemic, as face-to-face classes remain banned due to lack of a coronavirus vaccine. 

Washington's Agency for International Development (USAID) said it would provide Filipino teachers with instruction strategies and learning materials designed for both school and home learning, and assist the Department of Education in developing tools to gauge students’ literacy skills once they return to school.

It will also design activities that parents can implement at home, and partner with the private sector and local media companies to spread advice on how to help children continue learning during school closures.

“The US government, through USAID, remains committed to ensuring young students have the opportunity to continue to learn despite the challenges that COVID-19 has created,” the agency's Mission Director Lawrence Hardy said in a statement. 

Out of almost 700,000 teachers who answered a recent DepEd survey, 87 percent have laptops or computers at home and 13 percent have none, said Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan. 

Among those who have gadgets, only 41 percent have internet connection, 49 have internet signal in their area but no connection of their own, and 10 percent lack both, he said. 

The DepEd is also assessing the capacity of students to attend online classes through a survey included in their enrollment forms, said Malaluan. 

The Philippines last year had some 27 million students in public and private schools, from kindergarten to senior high school. Some 11.3 million public school students have enrolled for the coming school year as of Tuesday, ahead of the June 30 deadline, said Malaluan. 

The school year will open on Aug. 24.