Last week, Mr. Trey Hicks of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee visited two Cebu elementary schools and met with government and school officials to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to help improve the reading skills of young learners.
On behalf of the American people, Mr. Hicks, together with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Education Chief Mr. Brian Levey, visited schools in Consolacion and Mandaue, and donated teaching and learning materials. The delegation also met with government and school officials of cities of Cebu, Mandaue City, Bohol and Tagbilaran City.
“Reading is the foundation for other learning activities and a major factor in determining if a child continues to learn and stay in school,” remarked Mr. Levey. “Education unlocks children’s creativity and potential, setting them on a path towards making informed and healthy decisions and taking advantage of limitless economic opportunities.”
Mr. Hicks led a reading activity for the children and met with school leadership, teachers, and parents to understand first-hand how U.S. assistance has improved students’ reading abilities.
In 2013, responding to the need to improve basic literacy among early grade students in public schools, USAID launched a $39.7 million program called Basa Pilipinas, in partnership with the Philippine Department of Education. USAID is training teachers of grades 1-3 to teach reading more effectively, providing quality reading materials, and supporting the Department of Education as it carries out curriculum reforms in language and literacy.
To date, Basa Pilipinas has reached over 1.6 million early grade students, trained 16,335 teachers and school heads and provided approximately 8 million copies of teaching and learning materials, written in English and local dialects (Sinugbuanong Binisaya, Ilokano and Filipino).