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ADB Grant Aimed to Provide Learning Kits for Poor, Remote Students

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Key Points

  • The Philippines is in talks with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a grant that will allow students in far-flung areas to obtain learning materials that have been made inaccessible by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Thousands of last-mile schools of the DepEd are situated in geographically remote, disadvantaged, and conflict-affected areas, where only a handful of teachers typically teach hundreds of indigenous students.
  • AIIB ($750 million) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency ($460 million) already co-financed the ADB’s $1.5 billion loan for the Cares program in the Philippines.
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The Philippines is in talks with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a grant that will allow students in far-flung areas to obtain learning materials that have been made inaccessible by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Philippines, “discussions are underway to mobilize support for last-mile learning initiatives of the government to ensure sustained access to education for children in remote communities with limi­ted-to-no internet connectivity,” the ADB said in a report.

When asked for information, ADB’s country director for the Philippines, Kelly Bird, told the Inquirer that their ongoing talks with the Philippine government included a “small grant,” the sum of which had yet to be firmed up, “to help support the Department of Education’s (DepEd) last-mile learning initiative.”

Thousands of last-mile schools of the DepEd are situated in geographically remote, disadvantaged, and conflict-affected areas, where only a handful of teachers typically teach hundreds of indigenous students.

Through this upcoming grant, Bird said “children from poor families in remote areas [would] have access to all the education materials and toolkits for them to continue learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Bird did not say when the grant would be approved but “we see this as a critical priority of the DepEd.”

In addition to this grant, the ADB reported that it was also seeking other co-financing partners for its COVID-19 active response and expenditure support (Cares) program in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand, which could include the Australian Government and the Opec Fund and another round from the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

AIIB ($750 million) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency ($460 million) already co-financed the ADB’s $1.5 billion loan for the Cares program in the Philippines.

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