Manila, Philippines — The Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) virtually signed a Memorandum of Agreement with nonprofit organization International Care Ministries (ICM) on December 4 to train and equip hundreds of thousands of families across the country with distance learning skills during the pandemic.
“The role of parents in their child’s early education is very important, especially now, because of the implementation of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service Tonisito Umali. “We really need parents’ help. The students have to stay at home and the teachers could not be physically there to teach them.”
Helping parents through the challenges of blended learning
With online, blended-learning now an everyday reality, many parents, particularly families living in poverty, are experiencing difficulty helping their children in their lessons at home. 72% of parents are worried about access to the internet and 68% are worried about access to enough devices for all their children, according to ICM’s survey of their communities. Two-thirds of respondents said support from teachers and schools for distance learning during the pandemic was not available for their children.
“We know that DepEd and the schools have done an incredible job producing material, coordinating distribution all over the country, but we also know that more support is needed. With schools being done at home, the pressures and pains experienced by families to meet the requirements are very real,” said Michael Coman, ICM’s Chief Strategy Officer.
ICM-trained coaches are now volunteering to mentor and support parents in Palawan, and the provinces of Visayas, and Mindanao during this season, providing practical advice on teaching at home and strengthening positive engagement with children.
ICM Education Strategy Director Anna Alegre highlighted ICM’s Two-Generation approach where the adults are taught primary lessons and skills in values, livelihood, parenthood while advocating nutrition, health, and the education of children to benefit the two generations in having a better future. “We want to maximize the assistance for ultra-poor parents to help them — not just to teach academics — to instill essential positive attitudes in their children towards education.”
USEC Umali pointed out in his address during the virtual launch that this partnership is very much in line with DepEd’s mission to have family, community, and stakeholders actively engaged and sharing responsibility for developing lifelong learners of Filipino children. “It takes a whole nation to train a child,” he said. “That’s why I’m really happy with the partnership with International Care Ministries.”
A Season of Innovation
This groundbreaking partnership with DepEd also opens up new avenues for learning and innovation for ICM that will be shared with the global community.
“ICM is in a season of innovation ourselves. Just recently, we secured a partnership with the Global Innovation Fund. Part of this partnership is to test ways to better support parents to be their children’s first teachers,” shared ICM’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Charis Raya.
“We look forward to the opportunity to be able to test and iterate and scale up these amazing interventions that can contribute even more to the mandate of supporting our children, and building that love for learning that supports a brighter future for every Filipino.”
As USEC Umali had said in his closing statements, this is all about legacy, “Ultimately, this partnership is for the future leaders and citizens of the Philippines.”