The Pathways to Higher Education

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda -
I believe that education is not just a need – but a right of every young citizen. My late Tatay always talked about education as "the only wealth he could leave us with." "No one can steal it away from you:" he would philosophize.

These days, however – with the poverty line just a breath away from its worst level – millions of students who can’t continue their education end up unskilled workers, sidewalk vendors, mendicants, drug dependents and worse – criminals.

This is one of the reasons why the Ateneo de Manila’s Pathways to Higher Education Program continues to help academically-gifted but financially-disadvantaged students to finish their education.

Pathways to Higher Education, a scholarship program formed in April 2002, is an innovative endeavor created from the strategic partnership of two distinguished institutions, the Ford Foundation and the Ateneo de Manila University. This undertaking employs a comprehensive response to the problem faced by the indigent youth who is seeking to obtain and complete a college education.

Pathways to Higher Education aims to provide access to education by providing a holistic formation not only for individual scholars but for their families as well. While giving scholars financial support, their parents will be engaged in viable livelihood programs, giving them a stake in their children’s education and helping them augment the family income.

The program runs on volunteerism and the cooperation of various individuals and groups. Ford Foundation only supports it by paying for the salaries of the eight-member staff and operational expenses. Pathways to Higher Education has to look for scholarships and other forms of support for the participants.

"Pathways is two-pronged: we help the child, we help the parents," says Pathways director Harvey Keh.

The individual scholar and the participant family will be given values orientation seminars, allowing them to grasp and concretize what they are striving for.

The program is also designing a relevant modular curriculum for working students, thus ensuring them an opportunity to complete their education.

Pathways to Higher Education has initially helped 35 public high school students from urban poor communities in Marikina, Payatas and Loyola Heights in Quezon City and Baseco in Tondo enter top-notch colleges and universities like the Ateneo, University of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University, Far Eastern University, Assumption College, De La Salle University, St. Scholastica’s College, University of Santo Tomas, Miriam College and Lyceum. Most of the students receive full scholarships from these institutions through the academic support program of Pathway to Higher Education where the participants undergo college entrance exam review classes to help them pass the tough college application and scholarship application process.

Take the case of Archie Dolit, son of a taho vendor and laundry woman in Marikina. Archie graduated valedictorian from Marikina High School. He is currently studying Electronics and Communication Engineering at the Ateneo. He says that if it were not for Pathways to Higher Education, he would either be enrolled in a vocational school or would have stopped studying altogether.

Another success story of the program is that of Rosalie Bautista, daughter of a family driver who is also a single parent. Rosalie graduated with honors at the Quirino High School in Quezon City but her dad could not afford to send her to college since he still has two daughters to take care of. Thanks to a generous sponsor, Rosalie is now enrolled at De La Salle University taking up BS Computer Science.

Rosalie and Archie are but a few of the hundreds of thousands of gems and future leaders of our nation who come from public schools. Two of the last three valedictorians of the Ateneo de Manila University (Roselle Ambubuyog and Paul Olinares) came from public schools.

There are more students like Archie, Rosalie, Roselle and Paul just waiting to be given the opportunity to carve for themselves a brighter future. They just need people to believe in them and more importantly, to help them.

(Ateneo de Manila University-Pathways to Higher Education Program can be reached at 426-6001 local 4047 or 4048.)
Alpha’s Acoustic Light released
Alpha Music has released an OPM Acoustic Album called "Acoustic Light that features some of Alpha Music’s present and past hitmakers. The 15-track album consists of perennial favorites like Aiza Seguerra’s Another Rainy Day, Randy Santiago’s True Love, Richard Reynoso’s Sana Naman, Rica Peralejo’s Fallin,’ Moonstar88’s Sulat, Barbie’s Cradle’s Tabing Ilog and many more. It also prides itself as the only acoustic album that features Paalam Na by Rachel Alejandro and You Will Always Be by Shirley Fuentes, two of the popular songs not commonly available in other acoustic albums.

Acoustic Light
is available in high-grade cassette and CD at all Alpha outlets nationwide.











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