USAID helps Philippines during COVID-19 crisis; allocates 126 Million Pesos
The learning landscape is transforming into an abrupt digital change because of the pandemic. It leaves educational institutions struggling. They have no recourse but to be even more resourceful, innovative, and creative in using digital platforms to teach students.
Despite the setback and complaints, the Department of Education (DepEd) is working hard to transition from “face-to-face learning” to “blended learning.”
The department’s intention to extend quality education in the country by employing “blended learning” is risky. Despite the threat, educating the Filipino Youth even during a pandemic is essential.
However, it entails challenges that need a close look before the learning program will roll out nationwide. The marginalized and poor will be at a disadvantage. Not only that, but the teachers who live in rural areas also do not have decent access to the internet and other tech-driven learning equipment.
Transition from “face-to-face learning” to “blended learning.”
USAID partnership with DepEd
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will be working side by side with DepEd to empower education in the “New Normal” method of teaching and learning. USAID will provide a Php 126 million fund to support the Philippine educational sector.
According to Director Lawrence Hardy, “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.
This will bring more possibilities that students will be able to continue education no matter both in a classroom and remote/online class setting.
The digital hurdle
Accurate data is essential to allocate the limited fund and maximize it. According to DepEd, 87% have laptops or desktop computers at home, 13% do not. Even with computer gadget equipment, only 41% have an internet connection.
Computer gadgets for students and teachers
Some local government sectors and municipalities are allocating funds to buy laptops and tablets for both students and teachers. The investment may be worth it as this seems to be the new normal in classroom education worldwide.
Some parents choose not to enroll their children because of the COVID risk. Others are hoping for this kind of government support so they can transition to homeschooling. Unfortunately, homeschool may not be for everyone, even with gadgets because of the lack of training.
→ Join a network of homeschooling parents in the Philippines.
Using TV networks for Distance Learning
Secretary Briones is also toying with the idea of tapping television and radio networks to broadcast lessons at specific times. This will ensure students in provinces can still study under the “distance learning scheme.”