THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Education (DepEd) have signed a P4.8-billion assistance agreement to improve the education sector, the US Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement Thursday.

Lawrence Hardy II, USAID Philippines mission director, said the new bilateral deal “marks a new era in our longstanding partnership” to achieve quality education.

“These programs will strengthen Philippine institutions to provide quality education.  They also recognize the important and unique contributions the private sector and civil society bring to partnerships in achieving better education results,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The five-year agreement will “continue and deepen” the US commitment to help out-of-school youth, the embassy said, by improving literacy rates, math competency, social skills, and employment and life skills for out-of-school youth, as well as strengthen education governance, it added.

The agreement is one of the four new assistance agreements with the US signed in 2020 and 2021 totaling about P32.7 billion over five years.

The other agreements signed were with the Health department, to improve the health system, the Department of Finance, to develop the economy, and the National Economic and Development Authority, in aid of protecting the environment.

The US Embassy said the US has provided about P228.8 billion worth of assistance to the Philippines in the past 20 years. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas