USAID inks partnership with Bicol University for improved pre-service teacher education

LEGAZPI CITY -- USAID, through its ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines project, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, with Bicol University (BU) and West Visayas State University (WVSU) to develop and deliver a curriculum for pre-service education focusing on early literacy instruction in the context of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education Program (MTB-MLE).

After a series of studies and consultations, BU and WVSU were identified because they are both public universities recognized by the Commission on Higher Education as Center of Excellence in teacher education. They also produce the most DepEd teachers in their respective regions.

“USAID supports pre-service teacher education to ensure that incoming early grade teachers are equipped with practical knowledge and skills to address the needs of K-3 learners. With the shift in learning delivery, these future teachers will be introduced to performance-based modules, rather than lecture-based approach, giving them more opportunities to practice their new learning through targeted micro-teaching and demonstration,” said Tom LeBlanc, Director, Office of Education, USAID Philippines.

The two universities will work with Florida State University (FSU) to develop and improve their respective syllabi for Bachelor in Elementary Education (BEE) and Bachelor in Early Childhood Education (BECE). The Florida State University - Learning Systems Institute is an internationally recognized, university-based research and development organization that bridges the gap between theory and practice in education. FSU has collaborated with USAID, UNICEF, and CARE International, working in various countries, including the Philippines.

“This intervention builds upon both universities’ existing practices and the work that the Commission for Higher Education (CHED) and the Teacher Education Council (TEC) have already undertaken to align the pre-service curricula to DepEd’s Early Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program for K-3,” added LeBlanc.

BU’s Early Childhood Education Division (BECEd) has already started the pilot run of the Literacy Development Course for pre-service students while preparatory work is underway at WVSU for the course implementation during the incoming semester, which will run from February-July 2021.

The initial implementation results, including key findings, insights, and lessons learned, will be shared with DepEd and other Teacher Education Institutions across the three regions of Bicol, Western Visayas, and BARMM. USAID’s ABC+ project aims to share the findings and results with CHED for consideration in the BEE-BECE curriculum.

The ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines is a five-year DepEd project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that started in July 2019. The Project aims to improve the quality of instruction and learning outcomes in Kindergarten through Grade 3 (K–3) in early literacy, foundational math, and social and emotional learning (SEL) in Regions V and VI and in the province of Maguindanao in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It is implemented by RTI International in partnership with The Asia Foundation, SIL LEAD, and Florida State University.