Startup allowing Filipino kids a new way to study

TOKYO - Most of Asia's private schools have been designed to meet the needs of the affluent. In the Philippines, a startup is changing that.

The Ayala group, a conglomerate with origins in the 19th century, has set up a joint venture with Pearson, the world's largest educational publisher. The joint venture, APEC Schools, now operates 24 branches attended by 4,000 students.

Tondo, is located only a few kilometers from rows of upscale high-rises. Many Tondo residents make a living by picking up, sorting and selling trash. At 8 o'clock in the morning, more than 100 children in pale blue uniforms enter a sooty, four-story warehouse-turned school building.

It is operated by APEC Schools, which is 60 per cent owned by Ayala and 40 per cent by the British publisher.

In one classroom, students in fairy costumes perform an original play. Although the ambient temperature is almost 40 C, the performance, which the students spent months preparing for, is passionate.

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