MANILA — On June 14, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of Education (DepEd) convened more than 80 business and industry leaders to advocate for stronger private sector investment in early grade education.
DepEd Undersecretary for External Partnerships Tonisito Umali joined representatives from USAID, Microsoft Philippines, Smart Communications, the League of Corporate Foundations, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and other industry leaders at the Industry Leaders Conference.
“Early grade education is everyone’s business,” said Undersecretary Umali. “Everyone has a role to play, including the private sector, who has the power to create lasting positive impact in our communities through the advancement of early grade learning.”
Participants discussed sustainable and programmatic private sector interventions that could complement national and local government efforts in helping Filipino early-grade learners in the transition to face-to-face classes. Representatives from USAID’s ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines project also shared current project interventions to encourage new partnerships and strengthen engagement for early grade education.
“We believe that raising the next generation of leaders begins with raising good readers in the early years, and this endeavor involves not just schools but also leaders in the community,” said USAID Philippines Director of the Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance Jennifer Crow.
At the end of the conference, participants committed to work with other education stakeholders, including the government, Filipino families, and grassroots communities, to improve early grade learning.
Through its ABC+ project, USAID helps DepEd and education stakeholders address challenges that contribute to low education outcomes in the Philippines. The project identifies innovative and sustainable ideas on how to address the continuing challenges in literacy, numeracy, and socioemotional learning for children, with a particular focus on systems strengthening.
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. (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines)