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USAID extends RTI-implemented ABC+ project partnering with the Philippines Department of Education to transform basic education

The extension allows RTI and its partners to improve early education opportunities for more than two and half million students and educators, extending ABC+ current reach by one million individuals 

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded RTI International, a nonprofit research institute and leading international development organization, a two-year extension of its flagship education project in the Philippines, ABC+: Advancing Basic Education. The project, which is implemented in close collaboration with government and education stakeholders, is focused on strengthening early education in the country.  

"Access to quality education in a child’s early years can have critical, lasting impacts on the rest of their life,” said Ina Aquino, RTI's chief of party for the project. “This extension underscores USAID’s dedication and our shared commitment with the Government of the Philippines to sustainably improve learning outcomes and foster a brighter future for children, helping establish the foundation for a robust, inclusive and participatory economy in the Philippines.”  

With the $9 million extension, the ABC+ project will continue its focus on improving reading, math and socio-emotional skills for children in kindergarten through third grade. The project is committed to working closely with the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd), contributing to DepEd’s efforts to implement its new education agenda. As part of those efforts, ABC+ continues to enhance teacher professional development, improve access to learning resources and strengthen the education system's capacity. 

Since its inception in 2019, ABC+ has trained nearly 167,000 educators in more than 33,000 schools; developed, adapted or translated more than 2,000 reading materials in 11 local languages; printed nearly 33 million early grade reading materials available to more than 5.5 million students; and produced more than 65 television- or radio-based instruction materials to connect with remote learners in hard-to-reach geographies. Project evaluations showed that Grade 2 students achieved higher reading scores when their teachers had a complete set of supplementary reading materials, and when school heads participated in ABC+ teacher training. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the project successfully adapted its training methodologies, leveraging virtual platforms to train over 5,000 teachers.  

Over the next two years, the project is expected to intensify stakeholder engagement efforts, involving local governments, the private sector and communities to advocate for and participate in sustaining positive impacts related to learning outcomes, teacher professional development and access to teaching and learning materials.  

ABC+ will continue to implement the project in collaboration with USAID, DepEd, and other local institutions, such as Bicol University and Western Visayas State University, with which ABC+ has worked to design modules for university courses on early literacy development. The project will also continue to support system strengthening in support of improvement in numeracy and literacy, including in new regions and through the development of supplemental reading materials in select mother tongue languages, addressing the linguistic diversity challenge in the Philippines.

ABC+ is one of many programs that RTI implements across sectors in the Philippines, funded by USAID in energy, health, higher education, and biodiversity and conservation.  

Learn more about the ABC+ project

Learn more about RTI’s work in International Education