US gov’t gives $38.5-M grant for regional education program

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 31 2019 06:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 31 2019 07:09 AM

MANILA—The United States has granted $38.5 million in aid of an education program that has the potential to help 2 million students in Regions 5 and 6.

ABC+ Project, launched on Tuesday, is a partnership between Washington, the Philippines' Department of Education, and nonprofit research group RTI International.

The focus of ABC+ is to enhance students' reading, math and socio-emotional skills. The program, scheduled to run for 5 years, will benefit students in kindergarten to Grade 3, and teachers who want to upgrade their skills. 

The approach is to use "contextualized" learning.

“Ang mga pag-uusapan ay ang mga local tales and legends within their locality nang sa gayun, kayang maiugnay ng bata dahil ang mismong content ay galing sa kanilang kwento," Education undersecretary Tonisito Umali said.

According to RTI International, teaching children basic life skills is still a challenge. 

Regions 5 and 6 were selected, because “there are school divisions where students do not perform well in basic life skills. There are also many mother tongues”.

“You know that for a child to learn reading, kailangan mayroon siyang binabasa na materials," said Ina Aquino, chief of party of RTI International.

“And in the mother tongue, it is sometimes very difficult to develop materials for the child to read especially in hard to reach areas. We will support the teachers and school heads so they are able to sustain those improvements that they are going to introduce."

Meanwhile, the US Embassy's Charge d'Affairs John Law is confident that the program can meet its goal of producing successful learners out of ABC+.

The program will be implemented in two months' time.

— With a report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News