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Thursday, April 25, 2024

National Teachers College and APEC Schools Merger Ushers in a New Era for Philippine Education


In an ambitious move to reshape the educational landscape, the National Teachers College (NTC) and APEC Schools have officially merged to form a stronger education powerhouse.


Approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in late 2023, the merger combines the strengths and resources of both institutions to provide quality and accessible education to more students. NTC, with a 95-year track record of excellence in teacher education, will bring experience, while APEC, known for its innovative and progressive teaching methods, will bring fresh ideas and modern approaches to education. This merger has paved the way for NTC SmartClass, blending traditional wisdom with modern technology.


Introducing the NTC SmartClass Homeschooling Program 

During the pandemic, many families opted for homeschooling as a safer alternative to traditional schooling due to concerns about health, flexibility, and personalized learning. As a response to the widespread adoption of homeschooling, NTC SmartClass was introduced in 2023. This program recognized the need for flexible and comprehensive educational solutions tailored to meet the needs of modern-day families. It builds upon the innovative foundations of online learning during the pandemic, retaining the core of progressive teaching methods while incorporating deep educational insights and expertise from NTC's long-standing tradition of excellence.


NTC SmartClass, the homeschooling program of the National Teachers College for Kinder to Grade 10, prioritizes each student's unique learning styles, paces, and interests. This approach is grounded in the understanding that a one-size-fits-all model of education is not only outdated but also ineffective in nurturing every learner's full potential.


The program offers flexible study schedules using a learning-by-doing approach. NTC SmartClass gradually forms skills, helping learners understand and retain information effectively as they develop a love for learning. To accelerate student learning and increase student engagement, NTC SmartClassuses a collaborative environment between Parents, Subject Matter Experts, and Academic Advisers — forming a “triangle of support”.


"During the first year, we observed that NTC SmartClasshomeschoolers appreciate the additional layers of support that other homeschooling programs do not provide,” says Mark Sy, Chief Learning Officer at APEC SChools. “The triangle of support ensures that we support each homeschooler along the way and that no one gets left behind, which fosters a love for learning."


Inclusive Flexible Education for Filipino Learners

This merger has paved the way to a more inclusive homeschooling platform for wider socioeconomic classes nationwide, as NTC SmartClass aims to expand its target market.


In the Philippines, educational disruptions due to external factors like severe weather conditions, natural disasters, and health outbreaks are not uncommon. In these situations, homeschooling stands out as a solution that guarantees continuous education without any interruptions.


However, many Filipinos remain skeptical about the viability of homeschooling, largely due to perceived financial barriers. Many homeschooling programs in the Philippines have a base fee for basic services, then charge additional fees for essential elements like assessments, educational materials, and learner support services. These added costs can significantly increase the financial burden on families. 


NTC SmartClass aims to break this barrier by offering a flat, affordable rate that ensures homeschoolers can access all the necessary resources and support to thrive academically. The program offers a range of curriculum add-ons at an extra fee, but they are entirely optional, allowing families to tailor the educational experience to their child's interests and needs without feeling pressured by mandatory costs. From comprehensive assessment tools to a wide range of learning materials and dedicated support services, SmartClass makes high-quality flexible education attainable for more Filipino families.


"Amidst the changing education landscape and increasing environmental hazards in the Philippines, homeschooling is an excellent alternative to traditional schooling,”  says Pam Wu, Executive Vice President of NTC. “NTC SmartClassemerges as a beacon of personalized learning, offering flexible, safe, and accessible quality education parents seek for their children.”


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