US donates PHP36M worth of reading materials to Western Visayas learners

As part of the United States’ ongoing commitment to support access to quality materials of Filipino children, the United States government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over the first batch of early-grade classroom reading material packages for school year 2022-2023amounting to Php36 million (USD631,000) to the Department of Education (DepEd) in Western Visayas.

USAID Philippines Resident Legal Officer Michelle McLeod together with DepEd Region VI-Western Visayas Director Dr. Ramir Uytico, and other education officials led the handover of classroom reading material package at Iloilo Central Elementary School and Montes II Elementary School in Iloilo City.

“We, at USAID Philippines, remain committed and supportive of DepEd’s initiatives and continue exploring avenues to ensure that the target two million learners in its implementing areas will become successful readers from Kindergarten through Grade 3 and developed their full potential,” Mc Leod said.

The classroom reading material package, which includes 7.5 million copies of wordless picture books, listening stories big books, decodable and leveled readers in various Mother Tongue, English, and Filipino, intends to address gaps in reading for Kinder to Grade 3 learners.

These classroom reading materials supplements the early grade reading materials handed over by USAID to DepEd Region V (Bicol Region) to support the reopening of/in-person classes after two years of distance and online learning due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“I sincerely appreciate the generosity of USAID. This is in-sync with our regional mantra wherein every child is a champion. If we want our child to be champions, they must be prolific readers…This is also timely with the celebration of Literacy Day. This is emphasized by our new Secretary of the Department of Education – that we need to produce children who are really readers – the focus is on literacy and numeracy,” DepEd Region VI-Western Visayas Regional Director Ramir Uytico said.

This assistance is part of USAID’s Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+) project, a five-year, Php2.19 billion ($38.5 million) USAID-funded project to improve early reading, math, and social and emotional skills for children in the early grades in the Philippines.

ABC+ project is in partnership with DepEd and implemented by RTI International with The Asia Foundation, SIL LEAD and Florida State University.