Thursday, June 29, 2006

US Ambassador Tours Grade School In Tondo

U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney with Filipino school children in Tondo, Manila.

MANILA -- U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney visited the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education, known as the CENTEX School, in Tondo in Manila on Wednesday.

She also toured several classrooms, visited students, and met with parents and teachers. Later, Kenney aqlso met with Fernando Zobel de Ayala, chairman of the Ayala Foundation and Ayala Land, which developed and continues to fund the school.

Some of the CENTEX classrooms use a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) teaching program called “text2teach.” The Ayala Foundation and USAID also coordinate on a program to bring Internet access to public schools.

The CENTEX School educates approximately 175 children from kindergarten through sixth grade from economically disadvantaged families. A partnership with the Department of Education and the Government of Manila, the school is chiefly funded by Ayala Land.

Aside from providing free education, CENTEX provides financial support by subsidizing students’ school uniforms, books, transportation, and meals. “What an impressive example of corporate responsibility and giving real opportunities to young Filipinos,” said Ambassador Kenney. “I met wonderful young students who are incredibly motivated, well spoken, and all-around impressive.

The parents are all dedicated to their children’s education, and the teachers are equally remarkable.” Ambassador Kenney noted she was particularly impressed with the special attention given to helping students not only strive for higher education, but also to assisting children and families on issues such as self esteem and nutrition.

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