I am Ian P. Ganhinhin and I write to you to humbly appeal for financial help with the tuition fees for my graduate education.
I am currently a volunteer at Fairplay for All Foundation in Payatas B, Quezon City. I am a volunteer science and math teacher of students who were involved in child labor by scavenging trash.
On March 15, 2018, I was offered Fall 2018 admission to the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) International Educational Development, MS Education. The International Educational Development Program (IEDP) is Penn GSE’s response to the changes in educational purposes, policies, and practices due to political and economic shifts between international organizations, states, civil society, and markets worldwide. Graduates of the IEDP are employed in a variety of international settings including private and public educational institutions.
The total cost of the program excluding board and lodging is USD 71,179. The whole program can be finished in 1.5 years. The cost of the rent for the on-campus housing is $970 per month ($17,460 for the whole duration of the program).
Allow me to share my inspiration in pursuing a graduate degree that aims to help those in the peripheries and the poorest of the poor.
My journey in becoming an educator began during high school. We were required to tutor public school students and I prepared well so that I can deliver the lessons in the most fervent manner I can. The fact that my tutees belonged to the lower socioeconomic status opened my eyes to painful realities about the Philippine educational system.
The disparity between the public and private school systems was palpable. More than 45 students would squeeze into a small classroom. The teachers had to buy their materials using their own money especially if the lesson involved activities beyond the typical lecture. While doing my thesis, I discovered that some students could not go to school because they had to work to earn money to buy food. Some would also absent themselves because they were too hungry to walk to school. These were just some of the challenges I discovered in public education. I realized that helping public schools involved solving economic problems and formulating educational policies which are inclined towards those in the fringes of society. My gut-wrenching encounters with public schools stirred me to not take these things sitting down and launched me into action.
While in college, my learnings about the public school system led me to apply for an internship at the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED). I discovered a world outside classroom teaching that could impact the lives of many teachers and students. I learned that organizations could help in connecting education experts with teachers who live far away from the city. I learned that empowering teachers to explore alternative teaching methods can boost their confidence in becoming better. I discovered that by training teachers, I would be able to have an impact on more students. The insatiable hunger to serve those in the fringes and my experience in ACED not only opened my eyes to the world of educational development, but also lured me into going deeper into understanding the field of education.
Because of my experiences in the field of development, I have seen, smelt, and felt poverty. Poverty is not just a concept but a reality that many people are experiencing. After working with those in the fringes, I know that poverty kills and it will continue to kill in the future. I know that this is the reality not just in the Philippines but in other countries where war, hatred, corruption, and terrorism exist.
The challenges in development in our country have become convoluted. I discovered that to help those in the fringes, it is important to know, see, and feel the problem from their perspective. It is also important to consider the different political movements and local educational policies that are being implemented in the country. Government funding for education programs is greatly affected by international policies that spring from the relationship of different countries. Recent internationalization efforts in Philippine education had tendencies to impede efforts of making education more localized. Foreign aid has been present for many years and yet, progress in our educational system still seems hazy.
As I learned more about development, I stumbled upon the awareness that I know too little about this wide-ranging field in education. I wonder about the experiences of other teachers in other countries. I want to understand how policies are formed in other developing countries. I want to know and experience more so that I can serve more. These are the reasons why I want to pursue the International Educational Development Program at the University of Pennsylvania. It is the only program which is aligned towards my dream of helping the development of education where there is great need, be it in the Philippines or in another country. It is the program which affirms my beliefs and discoveries as I ventured into the world of education since high school. After finishing the program, I hope to work in organizations that aid the government in forming policies that will benefit education practices not only in the Philippines but internationally as well. With the new skills, knowledge, and experiences that I will gain, I hope to have an impact on as many lives as I can.
Completing the IEDP is not just for myself, but for the disenfranchised members of society that I have worked with and I will work with in the future. I know that these are big dreams—big dreams that will help others dream big as well.