THE United States Peace Corps and the Department of Education (DepEd) conducted a series of virtual trainings on utilizing newly developed distance learning materials for educators nationwide.

The series of training sessions from October 12 to 29 marked the culmination of a 14-month collaboration between the peace corps and the Education Department to develop and validate learning activity sheets. This is in preparation for training more than 1,000 teachers, principals, and supervisors to use and then distribute them to students in indigenous communities, geographically isolated areas, and some of the most resource-challenged communities in the Philippines. It is jointly funded by DepEd and the US Peace Corps, with support from the US Agency for International Development.

A central part of the DepEd’s plan is to ensure students continue to meet basic education learning outcomes during the pandemic. The learning activity sheets will supplement existing self-learning modules for students in more than 8,000 multi-grade schools nationwide and cover all key subjects—including math, science, and english.

“Studies show that high-quality instructional materials significantly increase academic outcomes by allowing students to engage more deeply and meaningfully with their learning,” said DepEd Bureau of Learning Delivery Director Leila Areola. “This has never been more important than now, with students still schooling online due to the ongoing pandemic.”

International Cooperation Office Director Margarita Ballesteros highlighted the importance of the joint US Peace Corps-DepEd effort, saying “this partnership is anchored on the 10-point agenda of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and the Sulong Edukalidad advocacy of the Education Department, as well as the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan.”

The US Peace Corps is the American government’s premier volunteer organization, and has supported Filipino students since 1961. Over 9,300 American volunteers have served as co-teachers, or filled up other roles requested by host communities across the Philippines.

Although there are presently no volunteers in the country due to the health emergency, the peace corps is devoting all other ready resources to support DepEd and other partners in responding to and recovering from the pandemic’s impacts.

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