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The Role of USAID in Massive Educational Reform

posted Jul 10, 2017, 1:24 AM by Jose Dasig

         

by: MICHAEL JUNE P. ALEGRE

         USAID has identified the poor quality of education service delivery across the country as a primary challenge to human capital formation.  The basic education sector has been noted to be beset with systemic hindrances to functional literacy resulting from poor quality of teaching instruction, lack of high-quality relevant learning materials, and sporadically used reading diagnostic tools.  On the other hand, poor regulatory environment and a lack of transparent information on labor market demands and university performance pose significant challenges to the higher education sector.

In addressing the above-mentioned problems, USAID is working closely with the Department of Education, thru active support for the Philippine Government’s Every-Child-A-Reader Program, a program aimed primarily to improve reading skills of millions of children.  In so doing, however, it strengthens the teaching capacity of basic education teachers thru improved instructional quality for early grade teachers who are given access to reading recovery and development of reading materials and institutionalization of world-class reading diagnostic tools.  Furthermore, USAID continues to work with the local government units, school boards and school governing councils to improve transparency and accountability in education governance and increase community engagement. For example, Basa Pilipinas, a program supported by USAID, has trained 12,854 Grades 1 to 3 teachers on effective reading instruction and 3,465 Department of Education supervisors and school heads on Learning Action Cells facilitation and teacher training support for reading and distributed over four million teaching and learning materials, including teacher’s guides, read alouds, and leveled readers, and supplementary English books and reading materials for use in USAID-assisted schools. 

            The rapid technological advancements have highlighted the need for the higher education to develop its role as an engine for innovation, productivity, competitiveness, and inclusive growth. Recognizing the weakness of the higher education sector in facing these challenges, the USAID extends support for strengthening the faculty research and innovation capacity through partnerships with U.S. universities; giving special focus  to science, technology, and innovation disciplines that are relevant to high-growth and high value-added sectors, such as information technology and manufacturing.  Highlighted in the process are the needs for string links between the academia and industry to ensure the workforce is trained to provide the necessary human capital for economic growth.

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