A breakthrough in education

Date Published: March 3, 2023

Source: https://www.philstar.com/

Someone once said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

It’s the reason that every Filipino parent’s dream is to bequeath his or her children a good education.

I very much agree with this. I’ve always believed in the potential of the Filipino. Filipinos, as we all know, are indeed among the most highly skilled, adaptable, resilient and smartest people in the world.

Imagine how much more an ordinary Filipino can achieve if given the opportunity of a great education, especially those from the underprivileged or marginalized sectors?

Experiential global education

The Yuchengco and Ayala groups are doing just that by introducing breakthrough experiential global education to the Philippines.

I learned about this when I sat down recently with iPeople president Fred Ayala and Lorenzo Tan, CEO of House of Investments, the listed company of the Yuchengco Group.

What is it all about?

iPeople, the publicly listed Yuchengco-Ayala education partnership, introduced a first of its kind offering that enables Filipino students to immerse themselves in global educational experiences with top international universities and a top Philippine university, in a highly cost-effective manner.

That’s the operative term – cost-effective manner because as we all know it’s difficult for ordinary Filipinos to have access to quality education here and abroad.

iPeople school Mapúa University and its daughter schools, Mapúa Malayan Colleges Laguna and Mapúa Malayan Colleges Mindanao, entered into a partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) in a collaboration that was piloted last year.

Top schools

Essentially, this brings two top schools together, Mapúa and ASU.

Did you know that Mapúa is already the Top Four university in the Philippines as ranked by Times Higher Education World University 2023 Rankings, together with the University of the Philippines, Ateneo and La Salle?

ASU, meanwhile, is ranked by US News and World Report as number one in innovation in the US, ahead of Stanford and MIT for the last eight years.

This collaboration for sure can provide thousands of Filipinos access to world class international learning at a reasonable cost.

I appreciate stories like this because they address crucial gaps in our society such as education. This can only be good for the country and especially for the present and succeeding generations of Filipino students.

Furthermore, through this collaboration, the Mapúa schools also became members of the ASU-Cintana Alliance, a global network of 15 of the most innovative higher education institutions in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Chris Hill, chief strategy officer and head of Asia Pacific at Cintana, said Cintana alliance is delighted to be collaborating with the Mapúa schools because of their long-standing reputation for innovation and academic excellence.

“The recent ranking of Mapúa as one of the Top Four Philippine universities, together with UP, Ateneo and La Salle, in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings is clear evidence of the quality of a Mapúan education,” Hill said.

With the collaboration, Fred explained that students of Mapúa schools now have the opportunity to be immersed in international learning experiences in numerous ways.

Firstly, they have access to ASU’s world-class content in all their ASU-enhanced courses. And then, students are able to participate in global courses through state-of-the-art virtual global classrooms, which give them the opportunity to learn remotely from professors at member universities of the ASU-Cintana Alliance and interact with classmates from around the world, without leaving the Philippines.

Fred showed me photos of a class where students and professors from the Philippines and other countries, including the US and Mexico, coming together in one online classroom.

It’s technology and collaboration at work.

Students can also participate in classes co-lectured by ASU faculty in the US. Lastly, students will have many opportunities to participate in dozens of student exchange and summer immersion programs at ASU-Cintana Alliance schools.

As an exchange student myself once upon a time, I advocate this kind of experiential learning.

For now the collaboration is focused on Business and Health Sciences programs but may possibly expand into other disciplines later on, Fred said.

A Mapuan education

Lorenzo Tan said the Yuchengco Group has long prioritized education as one of its contributions to nation building.

“It is very timely that our Mapúa schools are launching this very innovative and global initiative as we celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of our past chairman, Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco,” he said.

Tan added that the late ambassador, father of Yuchengco Group chairman Helen Yuchengco-Dee, had always advocated affordable education.

Since the 70s and way before the Yuchengcos acquired Mapúa from the Mapúa family in 1999, the Yuchengco Group was already actively sponsoring scholarships for children.

Dr. Reynaldo Vea, president of Mapúa University and chairman of iPeople, said: “We have long been focused on delivering the hallmarks of a Mapúan education – international, digitally enhanced, outcomes-based and research-driven.”

“Our collaboration with global leader ASU and being part of the ASU-Cintana Alliance enable us to take these to a higher level for our students, by giving them numerous opportunities to learn with a top ranked US university and other leading education institutions around the world,” he added.

This collaboration between Mapúa and ASU is indeed a game changer. I hope there will be similar collaborations between our local schools and global educational institutions. I also hope to see more conglomerates get involved in education.

As I said, our nation’s children deserve the best education, whether they are the sons and daughters of a prince or a pauper.