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Australian government funds education program in ARMM

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DAVAO CITY, March 17 (PNA) –- Peace promotion programs that focus on education of children will help the country realise its visions that are laid down in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

This was the message of National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia during the launching of the Australian government’s new flagship education program in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at the Marco Polo Hotel here on Friday.

The program, dubbed as Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao, will be funded with AUD90 million (PHP3.4 billion) by the government of Australia.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop personally announced the opening of the program that will start in July 2017 until June 2026.

“Communities in conflict-affected areas will be provided with assistance through the 2017-2022 development plan to attain just and lasting peace,” Pernia said.

As he expressed gratitude to the Australian government, Pernia also acknowledged the potential of the said education program, saying that the same will give opportunities to the children in ARMM to achieve their goals in life.

He also announced that the program is already approved by the Investment Coordinating Committee and being processed for approval by the NEDA Board.

Foreign Minister Bishop described the education program as transformative “as it serves as pre-condition to peace and development.”

“Australia is a friend and partner of the Philippines,” Bishop pointed out, adding that this is not the first time her country provided support to the education program in the Philippines.

Three education programs were funded by the Australian government in previous years until this year. These programs include the Basic Education Assistance to Mindanao (BEAM) program from 2002 to 2009; the Philippine Response to Indigenous Peoples’ and Muslim Education (PRIME) program from 2011 to 2014; and the second round of BEAM program from 2012 until this year.

The new program will be implemented in partnership with the Department of Education in ARMM and will focus on priority education reform areas in improving teacher quality; contextualising the national curriculum to address Bangsamoro issues and culture; improving data collection, quality and use in policy making; and stakeholder engagement in education policy.

ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Masuhud Alamia, who represented Governor Mujiv Hataman, thanked the Australian government for its continued support in the region.

She said the BEAM program is instrumental in the improvement and accessibility of basic education in ARMM.

“The program allowed us to do more to improve the education sector in our region,” Alamia said.

The program was also joined by Secretary Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Representatives Karlo Nograles and Mylene Albano-Garcia of Davao City.

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