In 2012, I received a call asking me if I'd like to be part of a venture that could possibly redefine the education space in the country. The concept was inspired by the best practices of the fast-food chain approach, but applied to setting up different high quality AND affordable schools across the Philippines. At that time, I had already been running Mano Amiga for five years and was getting frustrated that I had not yet cracked the problem of finding a way to provide more scholarships because of a non-profit school's limited resources. I said yes, excited to see how I could contribute to the project, but also to gain learning and insights that I could adopt in the Mano Amiga model to help us increase our own impact.
APEC Schools (https://www.apecschools.edu.ph/), is the brainchild of Ayala Corporation and Pearson UK, with a goal of improving access to quality education in the country through a chain of low-cost private high schools. APEC has three objectives (1) deliver world-class education at a very affordable price, (2) replicate fast and efficiently to ensure standardization of quality across multiple sites, and (3) be a profitable social enterprise through cost-efficiency and economies of scale.
I was appointed to be part of a 5-man task force (I was the sole female employee in the beginning) who will develop the school and concurrently, the business model. It was an exhilarating experience. APEC enabled me to pilot and test innovative education approaches in a creative environment that encouraged its employees to debunk our pre-conceived notions about the school system, so we could develop a revolutionary learning environment that would produce globally competitive students who can thrive in a constantly evolving world. And what was supposed to be a five-month engagement, ended up being a five-year consultancy that exposed me to the best minds in the fields of education, business, and technology.
Last month, everything came full circle when Ayala Corp asked me to interview three of the first ever cohort of APEC graduates! Jose Antonio Bacani, Paul Darryl Marco, and Alyssa Marie San Pablo are now freshmen students at some of the best universities in the country. Each of them shared how being part of APEC allowed them to receive well-rounded formation they wouldn't have had access to otherwise. They spoke fondly of dedicated and well-trained teachers, fun curriculum that always put emphasis on solving real-world challenges, and a school system that went above and beyond what is required, in order to give them the necessary support to succeed. Listening to their stories and their big dreams for our country made me feel so proud to have been part of the APEC family. ###
To learn more about what sets APEC apart from other schools, click on the video below and hear it straight from these three amazing students!