US to expand programs for out-of-school youth
The US Agency for International Development (USAid) said it would expand its programs for out-of-school youth in Mindanao and other areas most affected by conflicts and poverty.
The USAid, in a report furnished the Inquirer, said it would also continue to work with the Philippine government to “increase access to quality basic education focusing on English, science and mathematics for about 300,000 students (in public schools).”
The Washington DC-based agency, which celebrated on November 3 its 50th anniversary of involvement in the Philippines, pledged to actively implement its “Investing in People” programs in the country. This would include support for many education and health initiatives as well as programs to “expand and improve opportunities for about 100,000 out-of-school youth in areas most affected by conflicts and poverty.”
USAid noted that “public education in the Philippines faces large-scale shortages of teachers, desks and chairs, textbooks, and audio-video materials.”
“Overcrowded classrooms are common with class sizes averaging almost 45 students. The education system is hampered by inadequate teacher training programs and a declining per capita expenditure. Dropout rates in basic education are high, whole completion rates are low. These problems are particularly acute in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao, where there are as many school-age children and youth who are out of school as those in school,” it observed.
“In cooperation with international and local private sector and civil society groups, USAid supports community involvement in education, improvement of instructional quality, provision of computers and educational materials, construction and repair of classrooms, technical assistance to improve policies and the implementation of school programs, and livelihood skills training for out-of-school youth,” it stated.
USAid called on “greater participation of parents and communities in the education of their children through a matching grants program for school improvements and capacity-building for parents-teachers associations.”
The agency “trains parents and teachers to effectively advocate for additional school resources.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.