Written by: Tess Bahom

In its effort of aligning the assistance of volunteers in the identified priority programs, projects and activities of the government, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) initiated an online meeting with the International Cooperation Office of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Korea Overseas Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on 14 January 2021.  With the objective of establishing a more strategic partnership as well as strengthening closer collaboration, Director Gawe articulated that the meeting also aimed at determining how the international volunteers can provide complementary support and technical assistance to the basic education sector.

Director Ballesteros of DepEd on the other hand underscored the importance of conducting close consultation to ensure that accurate needs analysis is done and a monitoring system is established for sustainability of assistance as well as donations.  She also highlighted the priority programs and projects for possible convergence between DepEd and the international volunteer service organizations such as KOICA, that can help in expediting the delivery of the needed services in the public schools.  She specifically cited the last mile schools and the schools/community learning centers with challenges in implementing the senior high school tracks and strands and special curricular programs.  Focusing volunteer assistance in said areas will help DepEd in its overall goal of ensuring equitable access for education.

With 75% of its annual volunteer deployment directed towards public elementary and high schools, Misses Sulit and Balinsoy expressed KOICA’s intent to formalize the cooperation with DepEd for a more strategic and effective partnership. A tripartite Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding drafted by KOICA is in the works.

The author is currently the Senior Volunteer Service Officer of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED), Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

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