From December 8 to 10, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Educators Academy of the Philippines to hold a virtual conference showcasing nearly 400 innovative projects from educators in Bicol and the Western Visayas that focused on strengthening early grade literacy development during the COVID-19 pandemic.
School leaders developed and implemented their projects after attending USAID’s “Instructional Leadership Training: Strengthening Learning Conditions for Early Literacy.” The training focused on developing literacy leaders who can foster conditions for integrating social and emotional learning, gender equity and social inclusion, and developmentally appropriate practices to support quality literacy instruction.
USAID officials, DepEd representatives, educators from DepEd Regions 5 and 6, and other key partners and stakeholders attended the conference where teachers and administrators shared their results.
“As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries and the 60th anniversary of USAID in the Philippines, the U.S. government, through USAID, remains committed to supporting DepEd in its goal to provide children and youth with the necessary skills for their growth and development,” said USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean E. Callahan.
The event featured a virtual poster and video exhibition of project initiatives, a virtual area featuring USAID-supported early grade learning materials, and read-aloud events featuring books in Filipino, English, and mother-tongue languages developed with USAID support. The conference also included discussions on literacy leadership, home partners’ literacy programs, school climate, and gender equality and social inclusion.
“The initiatives of the USAID Advancing Basic Education (ABC+) project on early grade reading proficiency and on knowledge-sharing for capacity building provides significant contributions to DepEd’s directive on decisively addressing the challenge of quality on basic education,” said DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno A. Malaluan. “I look forward to the documentation of the presentations and the proceedings of this learning conference to be a readily available reference material for a range of good practices in early grade literacy in basic education.”
Since 2019, USAID, through its ABC+ project, has trained more than 10,000 teachers, school heads, supervisors, and principals, and provided 9 million early grade learning materials.
For the past 60 years, USAID has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations to achieve shared development goals, investing more than Php247.5 billion ($5.1 billion) to support the Philippines.