The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over3,274 tablet computers to the Department of Education (DepEd) at Mansasa Elementary School in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Friday.
Mission Director for Philippines, Mongolia and Pacific Islands Lawrence Hardy II will lead the ceremonial hand over of the tablet computers in simple ceremonies.
The tablets are loaded with a classroom observation tool called SCOPE-L or Standard Classroom Observation Protocol for Educators for Literacy, as well as digitized versions of USAID-developed teaching and learning resources, which will be used by school heads in providing instructional support to early grade teachers.
Mission Director Hardy did a read-along session with Grade 3 students and observed how school heads use the tablet-based application for assessing literacy teaching practices in early grade classrooms.
Hardy was game in wearing a paper crown made by the students for him as he read a short children’s story about a boy who traveled various places.
The students appreciated Hardy’s effort to read a story for them and gave him cards of appreciation.
He visited a Grade 2 reading class, and interact with local education officials to learn about the impact of USAID’s basic education assistance in the province.
Hardy was joined during this event by Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap, DepEd Tagbilaran City Schools Division Superintendent Virginia Zapanta, DepEd Bohol Schools Division Superintendent Wilfreda Bongalos and representative school heads and education supervisors.
Hardy touched based with teachers and asked about how the technology was able to make teaching better and more efficient.
USAID launched its flagship basic education project, Basa Pilipinas, in 2013 in close collaboration with DepEd, with the goal of improving the reading skills of one million Filipino early grade students.
The project is being implemented in eight school divisions in Regions 1 and 7, and has strengthened the reading skills of 1.8 million students from Kindergarten through Grade 3 students in the Philippines.
USAID IN BOHOL
Hardy said he has been glad to be partnering with Tagbilaran and Bohol for this project.
He told the Tribune the project will also be spread out to other places in Bohol, not just in Tagbilaran.
Aside from education, Bohol has been a recipient of other help from the USAID.
Just recently, the USAID has been helping the city and the province in various areas such as water, disaster mitigation and even in tourism.
Both Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto and Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap thanked the mission director of the USAID for the help.
The USAID has been in Bohol since the 1990s and will continue to help the province and the city in various areas including education, said Hardy.
Recently, USAID extended help to upgrade water and sanitation Tagbilaran.
Maynilad Water, the West zone concessionaire in the National Capital Region, entered into a twinning partnership recently where the water utility will be sharing its technical expertise on water loss and water pressure management, with the aim of helping the city government improve the water operations of its Tagbilaran City Waterworks System (TCWS).
Supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its SURGE (“Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity”) Project, the one-year Twinning Partnership will benefit the almost 77,000 customers of TCWS living in 10 barangays within Tagbilaran City.
The partnership will entail a year-round assessment of TCWS’s operations to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, as well as the conduct of technical and customer care trainings for its personnel.
“Through partnerships such as this one, we hope to be able to share the success of our Non-Revenue Water management strategies in the West Zone with other water operators. We are glad to contribute to the progressive development of the province of Bohol,” said Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez.
The technical assistance provided by USAID-SURGE led by its coordinator Linda Paredes and Water and Sanitation Specialist Engr. Evelyn Sagun also provided the much-needed boost to enhance the operations of TCWS.
SURGE is a flagship project of USAID that provides assistance to small cities in the Philippines to foster resilient economic growth and sustainable development.
SURGE has been instrumental in transforming key aspects in governance in Tagbilaran.
It has been instrumental in the financial restructuring and more efficient tax collection, which has soared four folds, said Yap.
Tagbilaran City pioneered the e-TRACS as a means to efficiently collect taxes to bolster the city’s coffer and be able to fund key projects to enhance the economic viability of the capital city.
The help of the SURGE has been recognized by the city government as one the key factors why the city won the Seal of Good Local Governance from the Department of Interior and Local Government.