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Inspiring Person Of The Week: Teach For The Philippines' Clarissa Delgado

“[Education] can reduce inequality and build the foundation for good citizenship,” Clarissa shares during the recent "Leading With Heart: Global Women’s Summit" 

Her background in research and impact measurement is obvious in the way Clarissa Delgado handles Teach for the Philippines, of which she is the CEO and co-founder. The for-purpose, non-stock, non-profit organization works to provide all Filipino children with access to inclusive, relevant, and excellent education. “I fundamentally believe that education shapes all of us,” Clarissa shares during the Leading With Heart: Global Women’s Summit. “It can reduce inequality and build the foundation for good citizenship.”

Clarissa is an alumna of William & Mary University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Art History as well as Phillips Exeter Academy, where she received the Robert Wilson Kesler Merit Scholarship. She also took up Master of Arts in Education, major in Educational Administration at The Ateneo de Manila University.  

When she was at Phillips Exeter Academy, she realized that “it was absolutely critical that education remained public” and that “we could not create an industry out of privatizing knowledge.” Her educational background contributed a huge deal in reinforcing the belief that good education should be accessible to the public. Her journey and beliefs led her to co-found Teach for the Philippines in 2012 with Margarita Delgado and Lizzie Zobel de Ayala.   

Clarissa Delgado | Photo from teachforall.orgn

Fast forward to December 2019, and the results of Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) show the Philippines at the bottom, which tells just how poor the quality of education is for majority of Filipinos. With like-minded individuals and teacher fellows, Teach for the Philippines aims to make the exact opposite a reality in the country. Since the organization believes that good education should be accessible to all, it focuses on improving the quality of education given to public school students so that a school actually fulfills its goal, which is for the students learn and understand the basic skills and knowledge they need in life.  

How exactly do they do this? It's by getting teachers with deep content knowledge (expertise in the subject they are teaching), making sure that the organization is inclusive of tenured teachers already in the system, and working on getting teachers involved in creating policy for education. Existing teachers in the system are then trained to improve the quality of teaching.

Teach for the Philippines Week back in 2015 | Teach for the Philippines

Supported by the county’s Department of Education,Teach for the Philippines is now a nationwide movement that has engaged over 300 young Filipino leaders. The results are very inspiring. Teach for the Philippines has reached almost 80,000 students. Post education, approximately 80% of Teach for the Philippines' alumni continue to work towards education reform, with close to 40% working in the Philippine government, in positions across local government units of placement schools, the Philippine Senate, Office of the Vice President, and Department of Education.    

Clarissa’s advocacy and initiatives haven't remained unrecognized. She is a member of the inaugural class of Obama Foundation Fellowship, and is a part of Asia Society Asia 21 class of 2016. Aside from this, she is also a Fellow of the Philippine Institute of Corporate Directors, and is a delegate of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Next Generation Council. “I look at the non-profit sector as the innovation arm of the government,” she also shares at the recent talk. She also mentions that in an ideal world, these pilot programs which the NGOs create can be turned over to the government. Our world is not perfect, but with people like Clarissa who are working hard to make a difference, there is a spark of hope for our country.

Photos from @clarissaisabelledelgado and Teach for the Philippines