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League of Cities helps to boost early-grade education in Bicol

By Keren Anne Bernadas

The League of the Cities of the Philippines (LCP) launched on Monday, the Education Sector Mechanism (ESM) project which aims to strengthen and improve the primary level of education in the Bicol Region through the collaboration of local governments and various sectors in the community.

The project, which is also under the ABC+ Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines program and will be implemented by the RTI International and the Asia Foundation, receives support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

The mechanism is a multi-stakeholder approach for DepEd, local government units, and other key stakeholders to plan, strategize, design interventions, utilize resources to support basic education and improve early grade learning in the locality.

LCP Executive Director Ma. Veronica Hitosis said that this project will involve need and evidence-based planning and budgeting to bridge the knowledge gap among Kinder, and Grades 1 to 3 students in subjects of literacy, numeracy and social and emotional skills.

AT the launching of the Education Sector Mechanism Project. From left to right: Ma. Veronica Hitosis, Executive Director of LCP, Elmer Sto. Domingo of Naga City Peoples’ Council, Myn Garcia Deputy Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, Naga Mayor Nelson Legacion, Dr. Thomas LeBlanc, Education Office Director of USAID, DepEd Naga Superintendent Dr. Susan S. Collano, CESO V, Malcolm Garma Education System Strengthening Adviser, ABC+ Project, City Councilor Joselito S.A. Del Rosario, Chair, SP Committee on Education. Photo by Jam Madrid of PIA Camarines Sur

Hitosis added that this initiative will create a platform for organizations and institutions to align their respective programs with the DepEd. This, he said will enable the partners to share a common goal that will lead to more interventions and improved basic education status in the region.

Mayor Nelson Legacion manifested the city government’s commitment of support to the project by issuing an Executive Order on May 23, adopting ESM in the city.

“I issued the directive because I saw the potential and positive implications of this project in the school children as this focuses on early education that will help make the pupils in the kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3, to perform better in at least three areas, namely, reading, writing and counting,” the mayor said.

Mayor Legacion added that the city government plans to help the project by utilizing not only the special education fund but also the general fund.

He said that in 2022, a portion of the general fund was allocated to build school infrastructures with corresponding classrooms and procure school equipment requested by DepEd. For this year, more schools are set to rise in order to address the 321 backlog classrooms in the city.

The launching was held at the Naga City Science High School, and was participated by Dr. Thomas LeBlanc, Education Office Director of USAID, Malcolm Garma, Education System Strengthening Adviser of ABC+ Project, Myn Garcia Deputy Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, representatives of various private sectors in the city, as well as DepEd and LGU Naga officials. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)


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