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PIA Press Release

BEAM-AusAID bolsters distance learning program for ARMM children

Koronadal City (21 October) -- The regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the support of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) has strengthened the Distance Learning Program (DLP) in the region as one of the approaches in improving poor access of children to basic education.

The DLP is one of the initiatives of the BEAM Project under its Component 3 - Increasing Access - which seek to grant opportunities for the school age children in the elementary level starting at Grade 3 to Grade 6 from far-flung and poor areas, to have access to formal basic education through the use of independent and self-paced learning modules.

In the pilot stage, two divisions in the ARMM composed of eight elementary schools were the beneficiaries since the program commenced in June of 2009. Schools-recipients under Maguindano Division are Datu Gumbay Piang Elementary School of Datu Piang, Dapiawan Elementary School of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Kalumamis Elementary School of Guindulungan, Pandan Elementary School of South Upi, Malangit Elementary School of Mamasapano and Libutan Elementary School of Datu Saudi Ampatuan. Bobo Elementary School and Piagapo Central Elementary School of Piagapo are the beneficiaries from Lanao del Sur IB Division.

In the turn-over ceremony of BEAM Learning Modules and school supplies recently in Piagapo town here, Angelo Delgado, Project Development Officer in the Education Development Project Implementing Task Force (EDPITAF) of the Department of Education (DepEd), further stress the significance of DLP for school age children.

"The BEAM's central objective is to address drop-out cases and absenteeism of these children in schools. These happen because these children were living in conflict-affected areas, their residences are distant from schools and some are working in the farms with their parents. Also eligible in the program are those children with physical difficulties or impairments," Delgado said.

Delgado, as well, made clear the exclusion of Grades 1 and 2 in the DLP. He said that only children from Grade 3 to Grade 6 were recipients of the program as they were already in the "learning to read" stage of development.

"The beneficiaries are already readers because the modules are independent and interactive. Upon enrolment, the teacher conducts reading readiness assessment of students to determine their capacity to read the materials, follow instructions and complete the worksheets," he said.

More than 500 BEAM Learning Modules is given to every school - five copies per learning area/subject (English, Math, Science, Filipino and Makabayan), per grade level (Grade 3 to Grade 6) and per grading period (1st to 4th Grading). A total of 35,000 modules were already distributed.

Acting Australian Project Director for BEAM, Ramon C. Bobier, senses a big hope in instituting a quality education for the children in the ARMM.

"We can assure our teachers, parents, as well as the children that these BEAM Learning Modules are especially designed to enhance the quality of knowledge and learning of each student. These modules are original masterworks of our own teachers from the DepEd-ARMM. We wanted to live with BEAM's mission of bringing education closer to where it is needed and when it matters most," Bobier said.

Moreover, ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan recurrently lauds the efforts of AusAID through BEAM in helping the regional government on its quest for affordable, accessible and quality education to poor students in remote areas in the autonomous region. (BPI-ARMM/PIA 12) [top]

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