THE Department of Education (DepEd) and the Australian government on Monday formally closed the three-year program Philippines’ Response to Indigenous Peoples’ and Muslim Education (Prime), benefiting more than 100,000 indigenous and Muslim learners in the country.
“Australia is our biggest partner in education. Through Prime, we were able to provide inclusive and culture-based education for our indigenous and Muslim learners. We were able to reach far-flung areas and engage different communities by addressing education needs through an inclusive approach,” said Rizalino Rivera, DepEd undersecretary for regional operations.
Prime program was implemented in Regions I, II, IV-B, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). It covered 725 schools providing access to indigenous and Muslim learners. The program not only provided interventions to address the issues on dropouts, absenteeism, and poor participation of said group of learners in schools but also engaged the communities to take part in preserving its culture.
Since its launch in 2011, Prime has provided access to education to more than 75,000 indigenous people and more than 31,000 Muslims.
“Australia is here for the long haul. Our commitment does not end with Prime. Through Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST), we aim to continue our partnership with DepEd to support better education outcomes in the Philippines that is inclusive and relevant. We believe that our investment in education of Filipino children will have far reaching effects and will lead to a prosperous Philippines where citizens can better participate in the local economy and in the region,” Chargé d’Affaires of the Australian Embassy Layton Pike said.
BEST and Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao are some of the ongoing programs of Australia to aid Philippine education.