The school-in-a-bag kits donated by USAID, Smart Communications, and Philippine Business for Social Progress will be distributed by the Department of Education to select schools in Bicol, Western Visayas, Maguindanao, Cotabato Special Geographic Area, Cotabato City, and other schools associated with USAID’s remote learning study.
Manila, May 19, 2022—As part of the United States’ ongoing commitment to strengthen early grade reading, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with Smart Communications and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to turn over to the Department of Education (DepEd) 100 school-in-a-bag kits worth over Php10.4 million ($208,000).
USAID Philippines Acting Deputy Mission Director Brandon Miller, Smart Communications Senior Vice President Alex Caeg, and PBSP Executive Director Elvin Uy handed over the school-in-a-bag kits to DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio and Undersecretary for External Partnerships Tonisito Umali. Each kit contains a laptop computer, 10 tablets with one terabyte of memory each, and pocket Wi-Fi preloaded with Php500 worth of internet access.
“Through the Smart School-in-a-Bag initiative, we will be able to advance digital literacy amid and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in remote areas that lack access to technology,” said Acting Deputy Mission Director Miller. “We will continue to forge partnerships with the private sector, local government units, and local communities so that every child has access to a quality education.”
DepEd will distribute these kits to select schools in Bicol, Western Visayas, Maguindanao, Cotabato Special Geographic Area, Cotabato City, and to schools associated with USAID’s remote learning study. Tablets will be loaded with e-resources such as DepEd TV episodes, interactive literacy primers in mother tongue languages, USAID-supported e-books, and other digital resources that can bridge the digital divide and improve early grade reading, especially for students in the most remote areas of the country.
“We thank our partners, USAID, Smart Communications, and PBSP for this undertaking. Truly, bayanihan is very much alive in DepEd even as we face very difficult challenges to make sure that learning will continue. We recognize the value of harnessing the generosity of our partners and stakeholders in improving learning outcomes of our learners, especially in Last Mile Schools,” said Undersecretary San Antonio.
The United States government has been a key development champion in the Philippines for over 60 years, working with individuals, communities, and the government to improve everyday lives.