The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over P12 million ($240,000) worth of distance learning equipment to the Department of Education (DepEd) on July 14 for its Alternative Learning System (ALS) e-Skwela Learning Centers.
USAID Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan virtually handed over the assistance to DepEd ALS Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal.
Through its Opportunity 2.0 program, USAID has been supporting DepEd ALS’s continuity and COVID-19 response plan, supporting the restoration of access to education for vulnerable out-of-school youth.
Equipment donated included desktop units, printers, projectors, wireless routers, and other necessary materials for ALS implementers and learners to execute distance learning programs. E-Skwela Centers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Angeles, Legazpi, and Davao are among the recipients of this donation.
“The U.S. government, through USAID, is here to support DepEd in reinvigorating education programs. We are working hard so that vulnerable, out-of-school youth who have stopped schooling due to the pandemic are given the opportunity and tools to adapt, grow, and have a better tomorrow,” said Acting Mission Director Callahan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the out-of-school youth’s lack of access to education. This has magnified their vulnerability, leaving them less able to pursue education and progress towards better economic opportunities for themselves and their families. We are happy that USAID remains one of DepEd’s strongest partners, committed to supporting us in improving the quality of basic education for Filipino youth,” said Assistant Secretary Ambat.
“With this program, we’ll be able to keep up,” said Mayor Rosal about the city’s collaboration with USAID Opportunity 2.0. As the lead for the local Youth Development Alliance, the city local government unit encouraged local stakeholders to continue working together for the program to achieve its goals. “This is for our youth, not only for this generation, but all generations to come,” noted Mayor Rosal.
Last year, USAID supported DepEd in developing self-paced ALS modules and trained ALS teachers to deliver this new content using new modalities to overcome pandemic-related challenges. As of June 2021, almost 16,000 out-of-school youth have benefitted from these new modules. Over 2,500 ALS teachers and implementers have so far been trained on flexible delivery modalities nationwide.