I am one who believes that education is so important to lifting those below and right at the poverty levels from their unfortunate circumstances. That is why, despite often busy schedules, I always try to make time to support causes related to academe.
Recently, HSBC invited me to witness their awarding ceremonies for 5 outstanding public high school principals who had effectively transformed their elementary schools through the HSBC Principals Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Program (PLP).
Brief Background on HSBC’s PLP
HSBC PLP is the first of its kind in the Philippines. It is an undertaking taken with SAS, a non-government organization (NGO) whose aim is to bridge the education gap. SAS was founded in 2001 by philanthropist Lizzie Zobel and Margarita Delgado.
In 2009, SAS and HSBC launched PLP in response to Republic Act 9155 which gave principals full authority and responsibility for effectively managing their schools. PLP helps principals identify the needs and problems of their schools and community and equips them with necessary tools to revise the standard curriculum to address such needs/problems.
After a 3-year educator training program, HSBC chose five outstanding principals who, in their own ways, transformed their elementary schools.
Since its inception PLP has already trained about 200 principals nationwide. Through this progoram, a Principal’s Handbook was developed by SAS and distributed to guide principals in their daily work as leaders in their own communities.
Meet the Honorees
HSBC President and CEO Tony Cripps himself gave the awards to each of the five outstanding principals.
I was particularly impressed with the story of one principal, Ms. Marilyn Macalma, whose students won in the International Robot Olympiad in their category. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear of a public school offering robotics classes and topping a competition. Imagine, they even bested those from private schools.
Stories like these reaffirm that if given the chance, many students in public schools will excel and achieve beyond what we think they can do. It is laudable that companies like HSBC do try to give public school students these opportunities.
Another program: Teach for the Philippines (TFP)
HSBC and SAS are going to undertake another program called Teach for the Philippines (TFP). This program will help address the scale and magnitude of the crisis in education by recruiting and training top students from universities, then field them in public schools. For this program, HSBC is donating PhP 3 million — 1 million from local fund and 2 million through a grant awarded by the HSBC Global Education Program.
I hope this encourages more companies and private individuals to put up similar educational opportunities for the less privileged ones and give their future a fighting chance.