Home | Speaker #7 Fr Karel San Juan SJ, Former President, AdZU

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Buenas tardes. Maayong hapon sa tanan. Magandang hapon sa ating lahat. Good afternoon.

The establishment of this new center in the Ateneo, the Ateneo Learning and Teaching Excellence Center, ALTEC, has been, as Dr. Lei mentioned, has been a long time coming. ‘Di ko na matandaan ang taon when I met the School of Education, Dr. Anita was there, Dr. Darcy, Lei, and their team, I asked our School of Education then to create this center believing in it so much; ako ang number one fan ng School of Education, you know that. I asked them to create the center, which we have already called at the time “ALTEC”, and to harness our expertise in teacher education and student learning, to draw from our many years of expertise, experience in reaching out to teachers and learners beyond Zamboanga City, towards Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, the whole of Mindanao, and beyond, which for many years have been the mission of the School of Education, the ELDP program, the Educational Leadership and Development Program, which was led for many years by our very dear mentor of everyone, Dr. Anita Tagadiad. Palakpakan naman natin si Dr. Anita. In wonderful remembrance of Anita this afternoon, our School of Education is the pride of AdZU, being our lone center of excellence in AdZU and in the region. An awardee from CHED, the Commission on Higher Education. 

Aside from the School of Education, AdZU’s learning and teaching mission has been extended through the years to several communities and institutions. We partner, through our social development units, through our several programs and projects. And through this we have established programs with out-of-school youth, with marginalized poor communities, with public school teachers, administrators, and learners, many of which have been in partnership with the Department of Education, presented by Director Marilette Almayda of the Bureau of Alternative Education and ALS, teachers and administrators also present in this afternoon.

One such program is the very, very successful, long-running, SUGPAT and we’ve heard it from Kiko, the SUGPAT program led by Kiko and Rogin, which we have been undertaking with UNICEF, DepEd, ING, and other partners. Hence teaching and learning constitute a core passion of AdZU, a core competence. A core identity. The establishment of ALTEC is the fruit of this. To further integrate, synergize, consolidate, our strengths in teacher education, student learning, community outreach, and partnership with private and public schools sectors, for the singular mission of making education better, making education better for Zamboanga, for our region, for the country, and for the world. Our perspective is global, diba partners? 

We launch ALTEC also at this time of severe, really severe education and learning crisis in the Philippines. We have heard of our very dismal performance in international assessments of student learning, particularly in reading, writing, and mathematics. I can give a lecture on that, but this is not the place. The Philippines often finding itself at the bottom ranks, nakakaawa tayo, which the World Bank has called learning poverty. The learning poverty scale and the Philippines is at the bottom or second or third to the bottom. And is what’s been happening for already more than a decade, even before the pandemic. On top of that, to aggravate the situation further, we know that this is further compounded, made more complex and difficult by the phenomenon of learning, loss and learning deficit. So we are exposed to this new term learning poverty, learning, loss, learning deficit, caused by pandemic, online and remote learning that schools employed for more than two years and continues until now, learning poverty, learning, loss, learning, deficit and their impact on the wellbeing of our learners, including mental health and our teachers as well, and the future of our country by developmental progress, etc.

All of these are very, very serious, very critical, very compelling problems of the Philippines now and in this context, Doc Anton was sharing about proper timing, God’s timing, etc. In this very context, we launch ALTEC as one of AdZU’s strategic responses with all the blessings and graces we are receiving. This effort therefore has just become even more special, more special and more innovative. AdZU can do something like this, but we cannot do it as special, strategic and innovative, without our partners who will help us see through this mission. Mr. Jaton Zulueta, as we have heard him, education leader, innovator and is AHA Learning Center, because AHA has an exclamation point, a multi-awarded person, our future commencement speaker in AdZU, Dr. Anton  Lim, a long-time partner, an AdZU special recognition awardee for the Yellow Boat Foundation co-founded by our alumnus and friend co-conspirator in many good things for God and country, Doc Anton, and our prominent AdZU alumnus Zamboanga’s respected business leader, Sir Benjamin Go. He is represented by his grandson, apo, Kyle Go, graduated from Cebu with an entrepreneurship degree. You know, Benjamin Go, the entrepreneur behind our favorite hotel in Zamboanga, Garden Orchid, among many other businesses. All these are great, passionate leaders, par excellence, community leaders grounded in the situation of the poor, sino pa ba hahanapin natin? Leaders for progress and peace and social transformation. The serendipity, and synchronicity of kindred spirits, plotting good things together. It is thus exciting to work with this great leader, innovator, mentor, change-makers in the field of education.  I am sure that through ALTEC, AdZU will learn a lot from you. Our partners, as we hope. We can learn a lot from each other.

We’ve listened to Dr. Lei and know our teachers, our professors in the School of Education they’re up to date with the latest, fast and rapidly changing, rapidly developing technologies of learning. They know journal articles and they give a lot of seminars here left and right abroad. We are really up to date. AdZU is, and I often declare, even more than the other Ateneos in the Philippines and alam ng School of Education iyan. It is such an honor and privilege to be working with you, Jaton and Doc Anton, and your teams in this project. Thank you for your desire to work with us to help us to journey together as advocates and friends. Thank you for the profound inspiration and encouragement you give us. Really, we need a lot of inspiration on the side of AdZU. I thank our leaders, our School of Education, led by team Doctor Lei Labrador Rabajante, Lei and your team. My assistant for Social Development, John Mayo; when I asked Mayo to carry on this project, kasi it’s taking some time. Things happened. I mean, things really got expedited and we are now launching it. Our incoming director of ALTEC, Rogin.  Kiko, nagparinig na si Doc Anton, Anyway, thank you.

Thank you really for making all this possible as we end this simple program launch of ALTEC. On behalf of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, I thank all of you for attending and for your support, for your blessing, for your friendship. May the graces, the abundant graces of AdZU’s long 110 years of service that we celebrate today this year, strengthen our commitment for God and country. Pro Deo et Patria. Muchas gracias a todos.