AusAID BEAM bids farewell to ARMM; completes eight-year program

November 17, 2009 12:44 pm 

By Joy P. Dimakiling

COTABATO CITY, Nov. 17 -– Officials of the AusAID Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) Project bade farewell to counterparts in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after completing an eight-year mission of helping public schools in the region reach and maintain higher standards of basic education.

“It is pleasing to note that much have been achieved in the ARMM areas covered by the BEAM project with a 24 percent improvement in elementary education and 15 percent in the secondary level,” said Ian D’Arcy Walsh, BEAM project director, during a farewell dinner hosted by the Department of Education (DepEd)–ARMM at Estosan Garden Hotel here on Monday night.

For his part, ARMM Executive Secretary Oscar Sampulna said they are saddened by the end of the program but, in a way, happy that Australia chose the ARMM as one of its pilot areas for the BEAM project in Southern Philippines.

“For that, we would always be grateful to Australia for the basic education support and strengthening learning management for improved access to basic quality education across the region,” Sampulna said.

Australia’s basic education initiatives cover 18 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Australia's support for basic education is focused on improving access of Filipino boys and girls to quality education, providing better teaching and learning in Mindanao and the Visayas, and supporting national basic education reforms.

A lead grant donor in basic education, Australia is assisting the Philippines in meeting a lagging Millennium Development Goal indicator which is to achieve universal primary education by 2015.

Australia’s flagship basic education project, the P2 billion (A$ 53.4 million) BEAM venture, has contributed significantly to enhance teaching and learning outcomes, improved access to and quality of education for Filipino schoolchildren, including Muslim and indigenous peoples through innovative approaches developed in partnership with the DepEd.

BEAM has been instrumental in providing tested innovations to the DepEd which have influenced the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda in standards setting, educational planning, learning outcomes management, financial management, educational administration and management, and monitoring and evaluation.

With BEAM's support, over 5,000 schools are now implementing school-based management, and about 53,000 teachers have received training to strengthen their teaching skills and improve learning outcomes for children.

To improve the quality of Islamic instruction, including mainstream public schools, Australia has helped train about 2,000 Asatidz (Muslim teachers) and supported 30 madaris (Muslim schools) to enable them to become accredited operator of private schools implementing the Standard Madrasah curriculum.

Over 35,000 children, parents and out of school youths from 253 remote and disadvantaged communities across Region XI, XII and the ARMM are now actively participating in the formal and non-formal system through the BEAM access program. (PNA)

DCT/NYP/JPD

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