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Partnering with USAID Philippines ABC+ Project

USAID Abc+ Project Partner's with Learn Kernel
USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn visiting Negros Occidental to support the launch of Beginning Reading Program in Partnership with the Department of Education.

What is Happening in the Philippines?

How can a pocket-size device be a large opportunity in closing the digital and educational divide among early grade learners K-3 in the Philippines? Ina Aquino, ABC+ Chief of Party saw the answer, when she first met with Learn Kernel’s CEO, Jeff Potter, and Director of Business Development, Erica Potter. Ina Aquino foresaw the importance of leveraging the powerful force of the private sector, presenting a large opportunity to uplift lives, strengthen communities and achieve developmental goals in education.

On Monday, March 21, 9am PHT Learn Kernel’s CEO participated in the signing ceremony of the MoU between Learn Kernel and their partners ABC+ project and RTI International, allowing easier access and more affordable education to Filipino learners. During the MoU signing, the Director of Education USAID Philippines, Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs Department of Education, Deputy Director of Education USAID Philippines, Senior Advisor for Private Sector Engagement USAID Center for Education and others gave their support to the Partnership.

On March 22, 2022, ABC+ Project demonstrated the Learn Kernel devices to finalize the celebration of the Beginning Reading Program (BRP). Learn Kernel will be a key partner with its Navigator™ and NavigatorPro™ devices.

This will prove learning proficiency among early grade learners,” Said USAID Philippines Missions Director Ryan Washburn during the ceremonial launching in Silay City on Tuesday.

These Learn Kernel devices will allow for the Beginning Reading Program to implement critical reading instructions to K to 3 children in USAID-supported aeras. The Beginning Reading Program (BRP) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and has been launched for selected early grade learners in Western Visayas region by non-profit RTI International and the Department of Education (DepEd). The BRP is part of the Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+ Project) which aims to improve reading, math, social skills, and emotional skills for kindergarten to Grade 3 students.

Such content will contain early grade reading materials in mother tongues, including video-based beginning reading instructional modules which will be produced jointly by USAID and DepEd. During, the presentation of Learn Kernel devices, USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn visited Negros Occidental to support the launch of Beginning Reading Program (BRP) in Partnership with the Department of Education. In his speech, Mr. Washburn highlighted the importance of partnering with the national government to introduce innovations that will ensure learning continuity, improve literacy, and reading proficiency of early grade learners.

“A Rapid Assessment found a significant number of learners are in dire need of additional support to learn how to read properly,” Aquino Told Manila Bulletin

Four pilot schools have been selected to premiere the Learn Kernel devices in Western Visayas. There will be two schools in Negros Occidental province, one in Roxas City, and one in Iloilo City. Ina Aquino, chief of party for ABC+ Project, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has deprived children of learning how to properly read with teachers since they had to stay home and only had online classes.

Ryan Washburn, USAID Philippines mission director, shows the portable Learn Kerel device to students in Silay City. The Learn Kernel device can help young students learn how to read. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

Learn Kernel has been actively seeking global partnerships to help strengthen communities championing affordable access to education. Learn Kernel is currently in 10-plus countries and actively scaling. Learn Kernel seeks to bridge the educational and digital divide through technology that does not require internet. Besides the Philippines, Learn Kernel is working with the government of DRC to implement an educational rollout for students K-12.

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