UNESCO Jakarta Office, the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Philippine Office, the tripartite partners in the implementation of the Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines Project successfully convened a Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting on 20 November 2019 held in Makati City, Philippines.
UNESCO Jakarta Office has been implementing “the Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines Project” with funding support from KOICA since 2017. The overall goal of this project, which will be completed by 2021, is improving the quality of life for girls living in poverty through Alternative Learning System (ALS) targeting junior high school grades at the national level in parallel with K-12 National Curriculum. The project also strongly supports the Department of Education of the Philippines in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) to provide quality, accessible and equitable education and lifelong learning for all.
The PSC Meeting aimed to share the project’s progress and seek guidance from the three Co-Chairpersons and Members of the Project Steering Committee to address the challenges during the implementation in order to optimize the project’s results and its impacts. The meeting was firstly convened by the PSC Co-Chair, Dr Shahbaz Khan, the Director of UNESCO Jakarta Office, and followed by the other two Co-Chairs: Atty. Tonisito M. C. Umali, the Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service of DepEd, and Ms Seunghwa Paik, Assistant Country Director of KOICA Philippine Office on behalf of Mr Minhyeon Song, the Country Representative.
Ms G. H. Ambat, the Assistant Secretary for Alternative Learning System of DepEd, presented the overview of the national ALS programme and its Taskforce in the Philippines, including touching on key statistics on the current status and situation of ALS teachers, coordinators, and students in the country. Dr Mee Young Choi, Head of Education Unit of UNESCO Jakarta Office, reported the overall progress of the project, and Dr Ma. Teresa Medado, President of Asia Pacific College (APC), presented the progress on the development of national ALS teacher's guidebooks and student’s workbooks.
After the presentation, discussions session was followed where PSC members made comments, provided suggestions and recommendations on the points presented. The PSC Members also reviewed the follow up from the last PSC’s recommendations and discussed the challenges and actions to be taken. Dr Shahbaz Khan wrapped up the meeting by summarizing key points and specific actions as the way forward for project implementation.
In his closing remark, the Undersecretary Atty. Tonisito Umali on behalf of DepEd conveyed to the PSC members that DepEd, through his office, is accessible for any support needed to assist in the implementation of the project activities. KOICA Philippine Office thanked the partners and the PSC members for all the efforts undertaken to accomplish the targets and pleased to see that feedback mechanisms have been in place and that progress have been made. Dr. Shahbaz Khan expressed his appreciation for the continued support of project partners and hoped that the project is one the best practices that the Philippines can show and share to others not only in the region but to all the 193 member states of UNESCO around the world.