FilAm teachers give back to homeland

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 16, 2013

NEW YORK – With two million students dropping out every year in the Philippines, an organization called Teach for the Philippines is offering a solution that puts value on education.

Teach for the Philippines is a New York organization that recruits young, promising educators from around the world to commit to teach for two years in impoverished Philippine communities.

“Ten schools have been targeted by Teach for the Philippines and the Department of Education as under-resourced schools,” Michael Vea, co-director of Teach for the Philippines said. “These are schools that need the most help, whether it’s in terms of teacher shortage, or maybe lack of resources.”

This year, five Filipino Americans are among those who have taken that leap of faith to make a difference in their homeland.

Teach for the Philippines said the best way to encourage and keep more kids in school is by placing the best teachers in their classrooms.

By putting better teachers, people who graduated from the best universities, and putting them in public schools, we can solve the problem in education equity,” Lance Katigbak, who volunteers with Teach for the Philippines, said.

FilAm volunteers who went through training will be placed in chosen public elementary schools in Quezon City to teach third grade students.

Organizers said third grade is a critical age range where these teachers could make a difference.

Studies have shown that students begin to drop out by fifth grade, and they are hoping this would no longer be the case.

While the average pay of new teachers in the U.S. is about $30,000 per year, these

FilAm fellows get paid a public school teacher’s salary in the Philippines of about $500 per month or about $3,000 annually.

“I think that these five Filipino-Americans are really walking the walk, like modern day heroes who are fighting the fight and working in the trenches to provide high quality education for their students. I think it’s so admirable,” Vea said.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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