US launches P92.3M literacy program for deaf, blind kids in PH
MANILA, Philippines — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday launched a three-year, P92.3-million program that would enable visually and hearing impaired children in the Philippines gain access to quality education.
The project, which would be implemented in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Resources for Blind, Inc., (RBI) would work with local governments in the provinces of Batangas, Sorsogon, and Southern Leyte to identify kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils with vision and hearing impairments, so that they can receive literacy support early-on.
“We believe that people with disabilities have and should have all the same rights as others,” USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy said during the launching of the project in Quezon City.
The project, the US Embassy in Manila explained in a statement, aims to increase the capacity of service providers and health workers to detect the needs of children with visual and hearing impairments.
The program also seeks to improve the abilities of teachers to prepare and deliver appropriate learning plans, and enhance the responsiveness of the local government and communities to the needs of people with disabilities.
The embassy noted that “the disability population continues to be overrepresented among the world’s illiterate and economically poor, due to barriers in access to quality, equitable, and inclusive education.”
It then pointed out that investing in quality inclusive education would improve a country’s economy.
“Investing in quality inclusive education can lead to a 7% gain in national GDP (gross domestic product),” it said.
The program called Gabay: Strengthening Inclusive Education for Blind/Deaf Children project is part of the US government’s commitment to improving the quality of basic education to support broad-based and inclusive growth in the country.
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