Ambassador Rod Smith
Visit to Santa Ana Elementary School
24 June 2008, 1530H-1630H
Santa Ana, Davao City
I would like to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be here, and most especially for your warm welcome. Having just arrived in the Philippines last march, I am pleased that the first place I visited in Mindanao is your school – your community in beautiful Davao City.
I am even more pleased to represent today the Australian Agency for International Development, or AusAID, whose Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) project is assisting thousands of Filipino boys and girls in Mindanao so that they can have access to quality basic education.
Australia, through the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) project, is proud to be your partner. I understand that your school is a recipient of a number of BEAM activities including trainings for in-service teachers, school-based management, the Learning Guide System (LeGS) and the teaching of Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) classes for your Muslim pupils.
I am pleased to note that your collective efforts and commitment to providing quality basic education are contributing to building a better future for Filipino children, and providing them with knowledge and skills so they can contribute to your community’s, and the country’s, development.
Allow me to again say that Australia is proud to be your partner. Like the Philippines, Australia believes that keeping more children in school and improving the quality of their education equip and empower them to be more productive members of their families and communities and also as citizens of their country.
This is why support for Philippine education is perhaps one of the main and critical contributions that Australia can make in the future of this country. Education is one of the key pillars of Australia’s aid program to the Philippines.
A lead grant donor in basic education, Australia is assisting the Philippines in meeting a lagging Millennium Development Goal indicator which is to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that the Australian Government looks forward to more fruitful and productive endeavours with you, and we hope that the Australian people’s contribution will go a long way in building a better future for your children.
Thank you and good afternoon!