USAID through its ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines project has announced its partnership with Learn Kernel Corp on the implementation of ABC+’s Beginning Reading Program (BRP), a technology-based learning program that will use Learn Kernel devices to deliver reading instruction to K-3 children in ABC+ focus areas. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two organizations was signed on March 21.
Under the partnership, Learn Kernel Corp, a U.S. based technology company, will provide 300 units of Learn Kernel devices for the pilot phase of the BRP. A Learn Kernel is a cost-effective and efficient tablet-like device that makes access to information and learning easier even without the internet, so that learning can be possible anywhere and anytime. Learn Kernel devices can be pre-loaded with materials using USBs and can serve as an alternative to expensive education resources like smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
“This partnership leverages the resources and reach of USAID ABC+ and Learn Kernel Corp. to promote learning and further ensure access to education among the most vulnerable and marginalized children in the USAID ABC+ implemented areas. We thank and greatly appreciate Learn Kernel Corp. for supporting this endeavor of USAID with the Department of Education through their educational tools and technologies. We, at USAID, believe that engaging with private and business organizations like Learn Kernel Corp. can help improve and strengthen quality of education and further encourage investments in the education sector.” Dr. Thomas LeBlanc, Education Director of USAID Philippines said.
The devices will contain ABC+ developed early grade reading materials in various mother tongues including video-based beginning reading instructional modules that will be produced jointly by ABC+ and the Department of Education (DepEd). The partnership will showcase the use of low-cost and accessible technology in the Philippines to reach more learners in any situation.
“Learn Kernel is a great little device, its unique, and the innovation is that its really affordable, we are over 10 countries, and we are very successful. The great thing we love about ABC+ project is that we are a fantastic product searching for marketspace knowledgeable people to whom we can bring this technology and make it really exciting,” CEO and Founder Mr Jeff Potter Learn Kernel Corporation.
The signing of MOU was witnessed by key officials from DepEd, USAID, and the U.S. Commercial Service of Cleveland, Ohio, where Learn Kernel Corp is based.
“Quality education requires investment…gadgets are very critical in online education. Leveraging resources and engaging partners is needed to make this happen, so that we can equip learners with 24th-century skills, so that they are able to communicate, be collaborative, creative, innovative, able to solve problems in everyday living, and learn digital literacy,” DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs Tonisito Umali said.
USAID has been supporting DepEd in its efforts to improve education outcomes for all children through its Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP), particularly in early grades Kindergarten to Grade 3 (K-3) despite the continuing threat of COVID-19. The BRP is an initiative to help ensure that children continue to develop skills in reading even while schools continue to face challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines is a project of the Department of Education (DepEd) in partnership with the USAID and implemented by RTI International, together with The Asia Foundation, SIL LEAD and Florida State University.