To our university president, Father Karel, our honored guests this afternoon, our keynote speaker, who will share the wonderful innovations they do in education, Teacher Jaton, our university administrators who are here, our School of Education Dean, Dr. Lei Rabajante, who is accompanied by the Faculty of School of Education, and her loving husband, our partners from the DepEd Zamboanga City, we have our dear ALS teachers over here this side, co-founder of Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Doc Anton, accompanied by Mr. Kyle Go, a representative from Benjamin Go Investments, and our social development family, our family, our dear students, our dear friends, and although it was just yesterday that we celebrated the International Day of Education, I would like to greet everybody, good afternoon and Happy International Day of Education.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Education, which was celebrated yesterday (January 24, 2023), is “invest in people, prioritize education”, which is building on the global momentum spurred by the United Nations’ Transforming Education Summit. AdZU co-facilitated a subnational Transforming Education Summit consultation in BARMM last year (2022), and it was where education stakeholders committed to act boldly and ambitiously in transforming the education system to deliver inclusive, equitable and continuous education.
When we opened the SUGPAT Alternative School for Peacebuilding and the Arts, it was the same thrust that pushed us, UNICEF Philippines, and all our partners in the Ateneo community who contributed in one way or another, to see our out-of-school youth complete the program. The SUGPAT ALSPA is just one of the many interventions we can do to continue helping 2.6 million Filipinos in the country who are not attending school and help address the existing crisis in foundational learning, as well as an alarming decline in the literacy and numeracy skills among young learners today.
On this day we launch ALTEC with the planned interventions to help address these challenges: Firstly, with the School of Education as our collaborator, we hope to strengthen the curriculum delivery and support our teachers in formal and alternative education by journeying with educational leaders who will be vital in ensuring continuous professional development in their schools. Our partnership with the School of Education started way before this launch when the SUGPAT Program started the Power for Youth project in 2019 with UNICEF Philippines and ING. It was the School of Education who accompanied us in our mission to strengthen the delivery of the new curriculum of DepEd ALS, which we call ALS 2.0, and reinforce mechanisms to improve access to opportunities in education, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and employment. Together with this partnership, the project reached for about four years, more than 7000 ALS learners, 400 teachers in the Department of Education Region IX, and some of them are here with us, trained, by our said experts, and more than 100 instructional materials and resources developed for ALS. And now with ALTEC, we hope to co-create innovations with them for our communities here in Mindanao. Thank you, Doc Lei, and to the faculty of the School of Education for your openness and for your commitment to this partnership.
Secondly, ALTEC is blessed to have AHA! Learning Center, and Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation who are best in what they do. They provide free after-school programs to children and adopt communities through reinforced support and see more learners succeed in their learning. Now, in partnership with ALTEC, we form Teach Anywhere, a coalition of AdZU-ALTEC, AHA! Learning Center, and Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, to help in addressing learning loss in this region, in Mindanao, and beyond. Our conversation yesterday in our meeting, we actually realized that our passion and our deep commitment to help, that’s what is tying up all together. So thank you Teacher Jaton, thank you Doc Anton, and to your teams for seeing ALTEC as part of Teach Anywhere. We will ride the boat with you.
Thirdly, ALTEC will continue the interventions we do for the out-of-school youth. This year through the SUGPAT Program, ALTEC will support the KAYA Initiative, a youth-led participatory action project that aims to help reduce the number of out-of-school children and youth in Zamboanga City, funded by Union Aid’s Mindanao Young Leaders Program, with the support of Aotearoa, New Zealand’s International Development Cooperation Program. In the coming months, the project will hold participatory workshops with our out-of-school children and youth to find out the challenges they faced that led them to leaving school, and to empower them in developing a solution to the challenges that will surface. Once an action plan has been co-developed by them, the project manager, Bam Immid, who we are so proud of, will be bringing this and the advocacy with him as he completes his residential component in New Zealand under the Mindanao Young Leaders Program. He will benchmark with similar projects and hopefully be able to adapt things that will work in our context here in the Philippines and that can ultimately help us achieve our goal of helping reduce the number of out-of-school children and youth in Zamboanga City.
This is our ALTEC, a co-creator of sustainable solutions that our teachers can use in navigating the challenging educational landscape we have today. This is our ALTEC, a companion to learners in formal and the Alternative Learning System who continue to dream and strive to learn and succeed in life. This is our ALTEC, a home of innovations in teaching and learning to deliver inclusive, equitable and continuous quality education. This is our ALTEC, a servant leader who commits to focus not on its limitations, but on the potential it possesses.
In the words of our dear mentor, Dr. Anita Tagadiad, whose legacy we remember and we celebrate today in the launch of this center, “It is not excelling that makes us most human but service to mankind.” Thus, this is ALTEC, a co-creator, a companion, a home, and a servant leader.
Thank you for inspiring and encouraging us today by being here.