[Blueboard] Ateneo-Pathways at the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Harvey S. Keh
hkeh at ateneo.edu
Sun Feb 20 12:08:08 PHT 2005
Good day! I hope you will find some time to read an article about
Ateneo de Manila's Pathways to Higher Education published at the
Philippine Daily Inquirer. Please help us provide better futures to more
poor but deserving students by forwarding this email to your family and
friends. Thank you very much!
The link to the article is:
Or you may read the article below:
Path to brighter future opens for poor, deserving students
By Luige del Puerto
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Editor's Note: Published on page A22 of the February 20, 2005 issue of the
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BORN into privilege, Harvey Keh had everything many Filipinos could only
dream of. Educated in one of the best schools in the country, he could
look forward to inheriting the family's real estate business if he wanted
While most people his age (he is 25) and with his background would be busy
building careers or expanding business empires, Keh, the scion of a
Chinese-Filipino family, has gone into social work.
He is director of Pathways to Higher Education, which he helped found at
age 22 after receiving a grant from the Ford Foundation.
Pathways finds schools, foundations, business groups and individuals that
can support a public school student's education. It also trains a student
for college entrance examinations, and tutors him/her to qualify for a
Money isn't everything
Keh could earn more if he went into the family business, or started his
own. But his conscience would not allow it.
"I can't afford to enrich myself while
so many people don't even have anything to eat," he tells the Inquirer in
his office inside the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. Keh
also hosts two radio programs at Radio Veritas, the Catholic-run station.
How Pathways started is an incredibly inspiring story. The idea was
hatched in a theology class Keh taught four years ago.
"I always tell my students that a theology that is not put into practice
is nothing," he says. He was also working at the Ateneo student affairs
"After a semester (of) teaching theology, some of my students... said
'Sir, we are very inspired by your class. We'd like to do something.'"
The students did not have money, but they had time, and knowledge to
share. They decided on a summer outreach program, Alay ni Ignacio, named
after Ateneo's patron saint.
The students spent long vacations teaching public school pupils. They were
exhilarated by the experience. It gave them a sense of purpose.
In 2001, though many corporations had extended help to the outreach
program, the class still needed some P100,000. Keh e-mailed more than 100
foundations and individuals worldwide, including Microsoft's Bill Gates,
asking for help. He got refusals from the few who responded, except one,
the Ford Foundation.
Ford, one of the biggest foundations in the world, has an office in
"They said, 'We'd like to know more about this Alay ni Ignacio (Ani),'"
Keh says. "So I met with them. They gave us a small amount, and we ran
Dr. Milwilda "Nene" Guevara, then Ford's representative in the
Philippines, says she was very impressed with how the program was run.
"It was very systematic," she tells the Inquirer. "The little amount I
gave them went a long way. They also got donors to sponsor (tours) to
museums. I thought (the program) could cover more students."
The outreach program started a formal partnership between Ateneo and Ford
Foundation that would help send around 250 students to the best tertiary
schools in the Philippines.
After that summer, Dr. Guevara asked Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido
Nebres if he and Keh would like to compete for a bigger grant called
Pathways to Higher Education.
The three of them worked on a proposal for six months, and sent it to New
In 2002, Keh and company received a grant for $400,000 that brought
Pathways to the Philippines. Keh became Ford Foundation's youngest
grantee in the country at 22.
Pathway gets the best high school students from public schools and trains
them in mathematics, science, English and Christian living.
Some of the scholars are chosen when they are on their third year. When
possible, parents are involved in livelihood projects and values
Pathways coordinates with universities to get slots in scholarship
programs. It currently has around 180 students, with 10 graduating this
With offices in Bulacan, South Cotabato, Baguio and Metro Manila, Pathways
has some 700 volunteers who prepare scholars for college entrance exams.
Pathways interviews applicants and their parents separately. Staff members
also make home visits to see if an applicant really needs help. The
student then takes a diagnostic exam.
A qualified applicant is provided college entrance review classes. (Review
centers charge P8,000-P15,000 per student). He can take entrance exams in
some 15 colleges and universities in Metro Manila. (One exam costs as
much as P600.)
Pathways has secured partnerships with the University of the Philippines,
Ateneo, De La Salle University, University of Asia & the Pacific,
University of Santo Tomas, Miriam College, St. Scholastica's College,
Assumption, Lyceum of the Philippines, University of the East, Far
Eastern University, Centro Escolar University and Philippine Normal
University, among others.
The schools waived their entrance fees, and some even provided
scholarships for Pathways beneficiaries.
Charity First, a Chinese-Filipino foundation, provides scholars with a
monthly stipend of up to P2,000 for transportation, food and other
expenses. Pathways has also asked Ateneo alumni for assistance.
In return, scholars are asked to teach younger students. They also have to
attend regular meetings.
Keh says Pathways has probably raised at least P1 million for its
Christian Pascua, 17, son of a jeepney driver, says his dream of getting
into a reputable university would have remained a dream without Pathways.
He is taking BS Accountancy at Centro Escolar University.
Lord Alec Pasion, a chemistry student at Ateneo and the son of a former
Filipino contract worker, appears to have been inspired by Keh's
dedication to help other Filipinos. Asked if he plans to work abroad
after graduation, Pasion says, "I think I'm needed here."
To those who find Keh's work odd, he says, "I always believed that I have
received so many blessings... to whom much is given, much is expected."
His mother Lisa says he has always been like that. He thinks of other
people's welfare more than his own. "He likes helping. It is where he is
happy," she says.
If you want to learn more about or help Pathways, you may call their
office at 920-0153 or email them at pathways at admu.edu.ph
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