US donates distance learning set to CDO’s e-Skwela Center

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The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), donated 2.2 million pesos ($44,000) worth of distance learning equipment to support the e- Skwela from the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the city of Cagayan de Oro.

Last month’s equipment donation included 50 desktop computers, webcams, headphones, wireless routers and other tools for ALS distance learning.

USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan virtually handed over the equipment to Deputy Secretary of SLA of the Department of Education (DepEd), GH Ambat, Mayor Oscar Moreno of Cagayan City de Oro and representative Rolando Uy.

The Cagayan de Oro e-Skwela Center is one of five centers supported by USAID. Other centers are in the cities of Legazpi, General Santos, Angeles and Davao City. The total amount of aid to the centers amounts to 12 million pesos (240,000 dollars).

Through its Opportunity 2.0 program, USAID supports the DepEd ALS Continuity and Pandemic Response Plan, which is helping restore access to education for vulnerable out-of-school youth.

“The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported DepEd in reinvigorating education programs,” Callahan said. “We are working hard to ensure that vulnerable people [and] out-of-school youth who have dropped out of school due to the pandemic have the opportunity and the tools to adapt, grow and have a better future.

Ambat added, “The pandemic has compounded the lack of access to education for out-of-school youth. This has amplified their vulnerability, leaving them less able to pursue education and progress towards better economic opportunities for themselves and their families. We are pleased that USAID remains one of DepEd’s strongest partners, committed to supporting us in improving the quality of basic education for young Filipinos.

Last year, USAID supported DepEd in the development of self-paced ESL modules and trained ESL teachers to deliver this new content using modern modalities to overcome pandemic-related challenges. To date, more than 16,000 out-of-school young people have benefited from these new modules. Over 2,500 ESL teachers and implementers have so far been trained on flexible delivery modalities across the country.

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