Brighter Future for Philippines' Rural Children via ADB, Japan Preschool Grant

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) today provided a $1.5 million grant to the Philippines to support a public–private partnership that will put 6,000 children in new preschool classrooms in impoverished rural communities by 2014.

The grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, as financed by the Government of Japan and administered by ADB, will build 60 preschool buildings in southern Luzon and western and central Visayas.

Another $2.04 million will be financed by the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) and private partners led by Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (AGAPP) Foundation.

"The very best investment a country can make in its future is an investment in the education of its children," said Kunio Senga, Director General of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. "Early childhood education delivers life-long impacts on children's intellectual development, and enhances their long-term earning potential and well-being."

The Letter of Agreement was signed today by Mr. Senga; Armin Luistro, Secretary of the Department of Education of the Philippines; and Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada, head of the AGAPP Foundation. Toshinao Urabe, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, witnessed the ceremony.

AGAPP Foundation is the DepEd’s designated partner in achieving universal preschool coverage and will build fully equipped preschool classrooms and libraries, train preschool teachers, and conduct research on effective preschool programs. It will also mobilize partnerships and resources to fund those inputs and implement the activities.

The grant aims to provide child-friendly preschool classrooms and quality programs to prepare poor Filipino children to successfully attain and complete their elementary and secondary education. The project will also remove other barriers to education by providing a school feeding program and incentives to send children to school. Local NGOs will work on the feeding program for the preschoolers and livelihood support for the parents to sustain the nutrition and feeding program.