In 2008, the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) launched the 1000 Teachers Programme (1000 TP). The aim was to develop a pool of competent and committed teachers for the public school system. Through the PBEd Board of Trustees, with the leadership of Chairman Ramon del Rosario Jnr, the idea soon took flight.

PBed-shoot-2017-53.jpg(Front row) Love Basillote, Marixi Prieto, Ramon del Rosario Jnr, Cora dela Paz-Bernardo, Jose Cuisia Jnr, Chito Salazar; (Back row) Luis Pineda, Jesus Tambunting, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Edilberto de Jesus, Edgar Chua

The 1000 TP offers a scholarship package to the best and the brightest high school graduates, provides financial assistance for their Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET), and facilitates their employment via a partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

Eight years and 307 scholars later, its graduates attest to the fruits of 1000 TP.

Lovella Pura, 26, Sorsogon

“Three years and counting!” Lovella quips, when asked about her assignment in San Antonio National High School in Barcelona, Sorsogon. Before securing a permanent post as a DepEd teacher, she was with St Louise de Marillac College in the provincial capital.

Teaching was not her first choice as she wanted to be an accountant. She pursued an education degree after learning about 1000 TP in a career caravan. Today, she is constantly rewarded with words of gratitude from her students: “I can already understand it, ma’am,” “I already know how,” and “Thank you.” But she also faces the reality of armed conflict in their area. The sound of gunfire signals both an imminent threat to the lives of teachers and students alike, and an interruption in the journey towards learning.

“Every day is a challenge. Every day we take a stand. We choose to live with hope for ourselves and our students who count on us,” Lovella asserts.

Mark Angelo Sibayan, 25, Makati City

Mark has been teaching since 2014. He began at Colegio de Sta Rosa in Makati. After the LET, he applied to DepEd and was assigned to San Isidro National High School as a mathematics teacher.

“I drew inspiration from my third-year high school math teacher,” Mark explains enthusiastically. “I would watch him in class and imagine being in his shoes.”

Today, Mark is a Math teacher and a second parent to his students. He is grateful for the “opportunity not just to teach [a] subject but to guide [students] in their life journey.”

Mark dreams of public education that is at par with the rest of the world, of a government that supports its teachers, and of a future where teachers collectively shape a society of “learners who use their hands, their minds, and their hearts in doing good.”

PBed-shoot-2017-38.jpgTeachers Cathy Mallillin and Rex Bibal

Veronica Elauria, 25, Cavite

Veronica teaches grade school students at Blessed Trinity School in Las Piñas City. Having passed the LET in 2015, she has served the Cabanggan Elementary School for nearly two years.

She takes great pride in being able to help children who are “academically challenged.” Viewing it a privilege and a responsibility, she tries out learning interventions in her science classes. As a peer mentor, she takes time and effort to coach fellow teachers in computer literacy.

“Students are seeds. There is so much potential there, but we must also be careful not to waste it,” Veronica warns. She believes the Philippines is a country of good people, who need guidance and inspiration to realise their dreams.

PBed-shoot-2017-24.jpgPublic school class in session

Pearl Mhar Despo Pargan, 26, Misamis Occidental

Prior to her 2012 graduation, Pearl was already committed to giving back to the community for her education. She began her teaching career with her alma mater, Panaon Community High School. After a year, she transferred to Sinonoc National High School, and has been teaching there since.

Pearl grew up with dreams of “becoming a teacher who inspires her students and touches their lives.” Now, she is dedicated to helping her students make it to school, even going as far as providing material assistance. “I want to make them feel that there is hope, despite setbacks,” she shares.

Teaching in a public school has allowed Pearl to attend to students living in abject poverty. “With my stories in class, I hope to inspire them by changing the way they see themselves and their situations. I’m really thankful for this opportunity. I’m now able to change lives because PBEd and 1000 TP first changed mine.”