To support broad-based and inclusive growth, USAID works with partners to improve the quality of basic, technical workforce development, and higher education across the country for children and youth, including learners with disabilities. In basic education, USAID invests in the next generation’s foundational early-grade reading and math skills and supports inclusive education for deaf, blind, and deafblind learners. USAID also strengthens education governance at the local level and is a major partner implementing the Philippine government’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Program that responds to the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the education sector.
USAID is also active in providing education, economic, and leadership opportunities to youth, including vulnerable out-of-school youth. Through industry partnerships, USAID is training Filipino workers to meet the rapidly evolving advanced manufacturing sector. USAID is also strengthening systems and the capacity of stakeholders such as national government agencies, local governments, civil society, universities, and the private sector to deliver education and training so that out-of-school youth may return to school, join the workforce, or start their own businesses. Leadership and civic engagement training also builds social connections and trust to help youth become more resilient. In higher education, USAID is working with universities to align research and curricula with industry demands, and strengthening the science, technology and innovation ecosystem.
ABC+ (Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines)
Improving education outcomes for all children and youth remains a core challenge for the Philippine basic education system. At the root of the problem are the poor reading and math skills of many Filipino students, particularly in the early grades. The ABC+ project helps the Department of Education and education stakeholders to address the interconnected factors that contribute to low education outcomes in the poorest performing areas of the Philippines. This project identifies innovative and sustainable ideas to address the continuing challenges in literacy, numeracy and socio-emotional learning for children in the Philippines, with a particular focus on systems strengthening.
Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Alliance (AMDev)
AMDev seeks to create a highly skilled and adaptive workforce to meet the evolving requirements of the advanced manufacturing sector through better-defined, harmonized skills and qualifications descriptors, competencies, and training standards. The alliance also aims to contribute to the national discourse and policies on strategic human resources for the Philippines as it attains high-middle income status, shapes businesses to be more internationally competitive, and positions youth to thrive in Industry 4.0.
Gabay (Strengthening Inclusive Education for Blind, Deaf and Deafblind Children)
The Advisory Council for the Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities estimates that two million children have disabilities in the Philippines. Ninety-five percent of those children are not in school. Gabay strengthens the access of deaf, blind and deafblind children to quality education. Through Gabay, USAID enhances screening and referral systems for children with disabilities to appropriate schools and healthcare providers; trains teachers and parents in inclusive education strategies, provides assistive devices to community resource centers, and strengthens the capacity of disabled people’s organizations and parents to engage local governments for better targeted support for learners with disabilities. Innovations introduced by Gabay include strengthening and piloting a Filipino sign language curriculum, a Filipino sign language dictionary, and the Early Grade Reading Assessment for deaf and hard-of-hearing learners.
Improving Learning Outcomes for the Philippines (ILO-PH)
As part of the broader Improving Learning Outcomes for Asia (ILOA) project, Improving Learning Outcomes for the Philippines (buy-in) supports a range of education programming, including early childhood education, basic and secondary education, youth and workforce development, and higher education. The project aims to provide responsive, on-demand technical assistance and support to the education sector through ongoing consultations and activity implementation with the Department of Education (DepEd). Through this partnership, USAID helps boost DepEd’s capacity in conducting and analyzing large-scale educational assessments. This includes technical assistance in the development of ‘online dashboards’ that track and measure the progress of Filipino learners through standardized tests, making education data more accessible to policymakers and other stakeholders. More broadly, USAID provides regular consultations and trainings to DepEd personnel in charge of developing the agency’s comprehensive learner assessment framework. ILO-Ph also aids DepEd in policy-relevant research and measuring learning recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, helping Filipino educators enhance their teaching methods and positively impact learning outcomes.
Local Works – Coalescing Organizations towards Locally Led Actions to Boost Development (COLLABDev)
COLLABDev supports partnerships between local governments, state universities, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address the human capital needs in ten different localities. Priority sectors include health care, agricultural extension, and tourism. COLLABDev also provides training, planning, and implementation support to its network of partners with a focus on use of data and evidence to drive decision making.
Opportunity 2.0: Improving Second Chance Opportunities for Out-of-school Youth in the Philippines
Over three million Filipinos aged 16-24 are currently not enrolled in school, not gainfully employed, or have not finished college or post-secondary education. More than half of these are in the bottom 30 percent based on their per capita income and are therefore doubly disadvantaged by their lack of education and their poverty. Opportunity 2.0 strengthens national and local systems to help youth return to formal schooling, seek employment, or become entrepreneurs by enhancing links between education institutions, markets, local communities, and the various programs that support them. The activity will provide over 180,000 youth with the skills and opportunities to improve their education, employment and livelihood outcomes across the Philippines.
U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Skills, Innovation and Lifelong Learning (UPSKILL) Project
UPSKILL works with the government, industry, and academia to strengthen the higher education, innovation, and workforce development systems that support broad-based and inclusive growth. To achieve this goal, the project strengthens the capacity of higher education institutions in innovation and entrepreneurship through faculty and staff training, improving curriculums, and increasing and improving community extension and technology transfer activities. It also supports higher education institutions’ ability to provide relevant education and skills training for industry needs by establishing partnerships to connect academia and industries for structured work-based learning experiences for students, faculty engagement in industry, and similar activities. In addition, UPSKILL supports improving higher education governance structures at the institutional and systems levels and creates convergence around shared development goals.
With over 50 percent of its population under 30 years of age, the Philippine “youth bulge" is both a tremendous challenge and a great opportunity. However, despite the rapid gains in the Philippine economy, one in four young people aged 16 to 24 are not in education, employment or training, with youth accounting for almost half of the unemployed. Additionally, more than a third of the country's unemployed youth have at least some level of college education. This indicates a major mismatch between education and job opportunities. YouthWorks PH is a five-year partnership between USAID and the Philippine Business for Education that engages and mobilizes the private sector to address the education needs of youth, as well as the skills requirements of employers. This partnership improves access to training and employment opportunities for at least 40,000 youth through an innovative work-based training approach. This approach allows youth to earn a competency certificate from a university or training institute, while working in partner companies.