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Quality of education determines the future of a nation. Ayala’s aspiration to make education attainable for Filipinos goes back to more than a century ago, when a matriarch of the Zobel de Ayala family paved the way for the establishment of a school for young women. Since then, it has continued to expand its footprint in Philippine education.
Concordia College: Educating deserving young women
Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion de la Concordia (now Concordia College Manila) was a gift from Margarita Roxas de Ayala, a partner in the family enterprise that would become the Ayala Corporation.
In the mid-19th century, Margarita petitioned for the Daughters of Charity in Spain to establish a school that provided free education to poor and deserving girls. She donated her summer estate in Manila where Concordia opened in 1868.
Its curriculum emphasized good manners, reading and writing, arithmetic, as well as arts and crafts. Concordia thrived over the years. Toward the end of the 1800s, it became one of the institutions authorized to grant the title "maestra."
Jose Rizal's sisters Saturnina, Soledad, and Olympia were among the proud alumnae of this institution. The school continues to be run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul to this day.
CENTEX: Supporting public schools
Through the years, Ayala has deepened its engagement in the education sector. In 1998, Ayala Foundation established the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) to provide holistic, quality education for bright children from economically disadvantaged families.
CENTEX was designed to break the cycle of poverty in some of the most vulnerable communities in the country. It focuses on the essentials for lifelong learning, including classroom pedagogy, development of critical thinking skills, values clarification, and use of technology in the classroom. It promotes collaboration among teachers, parents, and other family members in honing students' confidence and competencies not just inside the classroom but also through after-hours learning.
CENTEX also holds teacher training initiatives that promote student development and community engagement. Present in 19 locations, CENTEX, through its Training Institute, has trained and mentored 10,644 public school teachers since 2011.
iPeople: Making world-class education accessible to Filipinos
Ayala’s education arm founded Affordable Private Education Centers (APEC) Schools in 2013. APEC offers an innovative and progressive approach to learning at an affordable price point, and is now the largest chain of stand-alone affordable, private high schools in the country, with branches throughout NCR and Calabarzon.
In 2015, Ayala acquired the University of Nueva Caceres, the oldest and largest private university in Bicol. Three years later, it also acquired the National Teachers College, the pioneering private institution for teacher education in the country.
To deepen its impact on the education sector, Ayala partnered with the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC) in 2019 and consolidated its education investments under iPeople, which is majority owned by YGC’s House of Investments that owns Mapua University, Mapua Malayan Colleges Laguna, Mapua Malayan Colleges Mindanao, and Malayan High School of Science.
Mapua was recently ranked by Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings as one of the top four universities in the Philippines, together with UP, Ateneo, and La Salle. It recently entered into a collaboration with Arizona State University, ranked as America’s most innovative university over the last eight years, to bring experiential global education to Filipinos on a cost-effective basis.
Through iPeople, Ayala now delivers quality and accessible basic and higher education to over 60,000 Filipinos.
U-Go: Uplifting the modern Filipina
More than a century since Margarita Roxas de Ayala founded Concordia College, an eighth-generation family member continues this legacy by championing the U-Go scholarship grant in the Philippines.
BPI senior vice president for consumer bank marketing Mariana Zobel de Ayala is now part of the Global Board of Directors of U-Go, which provides grants for high-achieving, motivated Filipino women currently enrolled at state colleges and universities.
In the Philippines, U-Go partnered with Ayala Foundation to raise funds, as well as identify deserving scholars. Ayala Foundation and U-Go announced earlier this year that the program raised over P40 million, which will be used to provide scholarships to the initial class of 100 and expand to at least 1,000 recipients in the medium term.
“The issue of education equality for women is as much about empowering women as it is about building the most capable economy possible for the Philippines, to ensure our collective progress as a nation,” Zobel de Ayala said.
Through Ayala Foundation’s partnership with U-Go, Ayala’s legacy of empowering women through education lives on.
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Editor’s Note: This article was provided by the Ayala Foundation.