DR MA. Gemma Ledesma, newly installed regional director of Department of Education (DepEd)-Eastern Visayas, lauded the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and Korea International Cooperation Office (Koica) during the groundbreaking ceremony of Girls Education Center in Palo, Leyte on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
"We see this facility as one that has been needed for years. We are excited because we know for sure that this type of support will increase the motivation of our Alternative Learning System (ALS) learners to finish the program," said Ledesma.
The construction of Girls Education Center is part of the "Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines" project funded by Koica, and implemented by Unesco together with the DepEd.
The project aims to increase the passing rate among out-of-school girls in the Accreditation and Equivalency Test (A&E), improve ALS girl-learners and ALS mobile teachers skills and develop new teaching and learning materials, according to Dr. Hans Dencker Thulstrup, officer-in-charge of Unesco Jakarta.
"Placing importance on ALS is all the more critical now in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has further widened and put a spotlight on inequalities,” said the Unesco official.
“As we continue to redefine the future of education, we have to continuously create ways to ensure that learners - especially girls - who cannot commit to formal schooling due to various social, economic, geographic, and even cultural factors, be given a chance to have access to a more flexible and appropriate alternative learning program,” he added.
Meanwhile, Koica Acting Country Director Jaesang Hwang said the construction of the Girls Education Center is a “great support to the vision of the Government of the Philippines to expand the ALS program, especially in communities with high poverty rates and in areas that are intensely affected by disasters.”
“Through Unesco, we promised to do our share in eradicating poverty by spearheading quality and inclusive education with special focus on gender equality. The construction of the Girls Education Center is one testament to the fulfillment of that promise," Hwang said in a statement.
According to Unesco, the center is expected to cater to all ALS girl learners in the entire Leyte province and Tacloban City.
The project has an eight-month construction period after its bidding was awarded in March 2021.
The center will have facilities like library, life-skills training room, exhibition gallery, kitchen-laboratory, wellness room, and ICT/Math and Science laboratories.
Koica and Unesco have been forging a partnership for the educational, humanitarian, and reconstruction assistance in Tacloban City and Leyte following Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. (SunStar Philippines)