SG First Lady Mary Tan visits CENTEX

First Lady of Singapore Mary Tan visits the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) Manila School.

First Lady of Singapore Mary Tan visits the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) Manila School.

The wife of Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam, First Lady Mary Tan, visited on April 4, 2014 the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) Manila school as part of their 4-day state visit.

Established in 1998, CENTEX is a project of Ayala Foundation Inc., and runs in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), corporate sponsors, and local government units. It aims to provide bright but economically disadvantaged children with an education equal to that of the best private schools in the country.

CENTEX believes in improving the physical, financial, and human resources of an ordinary public school and seeks to be a model for private and government partnership. There are currently two CENTEX schools in the Philippines – one in Tondo, Manila, and one in Bauan, Batangas.

In her visit, Mrs. Tan and her delegation toured the CENTEX Manila school and observed CENTEX classes, particularly the Math class for Kindergarten students and CENTEX specialized Critical Thinking class for Grade 5 Language Arts. A special interaction and dialogue between Mrs. Tan and CENTEX students, parents, and teachers followed.

Singapore is a valued partner of CENTEX. In 2010 and 2011, teachers from CENTEX Manila were sent to Singapore through a scholarship by the Ministry of Education for sessions on “Teaching of English as a Second Language” and “Early Childhood Education.”

Earlier this year, the wife of Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines VP Hirubalan, Mrs. Mano Hirubalan, visited CENTEX Manila and observed classes on critical thinking and developing self-esteem.

“It is an honor to have Mrs. Mary Tan and the Singapore delegation in the CENTEX Manila school. We are very happy to welcome her to our school and share to her our CENTEX experience. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn from each other the best education practices both in Singapore and the Philippines and look at ways of how we can collaborate and support each other in educating our children,” said Ayala Foundation President Luli Heras-de Leon.

Last March 17, CENTEX Manila celebrated its 15th anniversary. To date, a total of 1,106 students have graduated from both CENTEX schools in Manila and Batangas, with a record of 95-percent elementary cohort survival rate, or the rate of grade one students who complete their elementary education.

 A total of 39 alumni of the first batch of 75 students have already graduated. A number of alumni are likewise expected to graduate this year. From the first batch of CENTEX alumni they have now become registered nurses, a certified public accountant, a teacher, a psychology graduate currently in medical school, a political science graduate in currently in law school, among others. 

This year, CENTEX will run a series of Teacher Training programs in the Visayas and Mindanao for public elementary teachers and principals to help replicate the CENTEX experience in various public schools in the country. The Teacher Training program aims at improving the capacities of public school teachers and principals through a series of trainings and year-round mentoring sessions with focus on pedagogy, teaching methodology, and values integration. The Teacher Training program will be launched in April 2014 in Visayas and Mindanao in partnership with JPMorgan Chase.

To learn more about CENTEX or Ayala Foundation and to make a donation to CENTEX, visit  or email

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