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Int’l Day of Education 2024: Business Sector’s Vital Role in Early Grade Learning

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The Business Forum of the International Day of Education 2024 (IDE 2024) Forum and Side Events, brought together leaders from businesses, foundations, and other private organizations committed to education advocacy to explore innovative ways to improve outcomes in early grade learning (EGL) in the Philippines and discuss the private sector’s role in addressing gaps in EGL.

Organized by the Department of Education in partnership with USAID through the ABC+ (Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines) project and The Asia Foundation, the Business Forum highlighted the importance of investing knowledge and resources in early-grade education. 

The forum commenced with ASec. Alma Ruby Torio, Assistant Secretary for Curriculum and Teaching, Department of Education delivering a keynote message that provided insights into DepEd’s perspective on the indispensable collaboration between public and private sectors in early grade learning. She noted that the winning combination is a strong partnership between the Department of Education and other partner government agencies, development partners, communities, NGOs, and all private sector and businesses joining forces to support early grade learning initiatives as one team. “Let us hold together in forging collaborations, noteworthy practices, collective expertise, diverse perspectives, and creative innovations to explore better avenues for action. We can surely make a lasting impact on the educational landscape, creating a ripple effect that extends to far-flung areas in our country.”

Ms. Ina Aquino, Chief of Party of ABC+: Advance Basic Education in the Philippines, Mr. Tony Lambino, President of Ayala Foundation, Dr. Margarita Consolacion Casabar Ballesteros, Director for External Partnerships and International Cooperation Office of the Philippine Department of Education

This was succeeded by a keynote message from Mr. Tony Lambino, President of the Ayala Foundation, representing the private sector. He underscored the importance and urgency of partnerships that support the DepEd priorities because “our national development story must be marked by a graduation to upper middle-income status to maximize our demographic dividend and education is critical to its realization,” he said. “In this regard, Ayala Foundation will continue its long-standing partnerships to complement DepEd’s priorities around training teachers as the core of all learning, using digital education to scale our impact, and mobilizing corporate citizenship and volunteerism to leverage the strengths of the private sector in support of public education towards our nation’s economic growth and prosperity.”

A subsequent panel discussion delved into forging impactful collaborations between the public and private sectors for early-grade learning. Representatives from PCCI Human Resources Development Foundation, Inc., Central Visayan Institute Foundation, Center for Educational Measurement, and ABC+ Project/RTI International, participated in the discussion.

The forum also featured presentations on best practices and education initiatives from the private sector, showcasing business cases from PLDT-Smart Foundation, Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc., OSM-AD Foundation, and LetsLocalise UK. The audience had the opportunity to engage in a Q&A session, facilitating an in-depth exploration of the case studies and potential collaborative opportunities.

Senior officials from DepEd, regional officials, and private sector representatives discussed and exchanged insights on critical areas in early grade learning such as teachers’ training, curriculum content, pedagogical tools, Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTB MLE), and assessment tools during the breakout session.

Tuloy-tuloy ang edukasyon kapag tulong-tulong ang lahat

Highlighting the private sector as a pivotal force in enhancing the quality of education in the Philippines, the significance of its role was emphasized throughout the event. Participants in the business forum were called upon to solidify their commitment and to be part of a coalition for early-grade learning to address learning gaps and advance early-grade education in the country.

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