After shopping some “pasalubong” in Pratunam for my relatives, my two friends and I had the pleasure of meeting the man who has opened the doors of cross border and transnational education for Filipinos and other expatriates in the Kingdom of Thailand. It was past eight in the evening when we went to St Roberts office to inquire about the company’s masters program, but the eleventh hour appointment gave us the rare glimpse of the exuberant and visionary boss of St. Roberts Group of Companies.
Dr. Robert Galindez, Chief Executive Officer of St. Roberts Group of Companies, was a fixture of success in a country where only a few foreign nationals thrive. He is both a respected educator and a successful businessman. He holds the degree Doctor in Philosophy (PhD) and through his leadership St Roberts has transformed into one of the most sought after educational institutions today a far cry from its humble beginnings eight years ago.
The welcoming boss started the conversation right after the short introduction of his sister ma’am Grace who is in-charge of managing the company’s day-to-day operations. He passionately shared his love for education and his dream of helping more Filipinos to get a sense of professional accomplishment. His wife Prof. Mary June and their children John Trevor and Francis Mari were also there.
From one partner university in a far-flung province in the Philippines, St Roberts now has three other partner universities in Manila — Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), Philippine Christian University (PCU) and the newly signed Arellano University (AU) in addition to Ifugao State University (ISU). All these are instrumental in providing quality education for Filipinos abroad while simultaneously supporting their families back home.
On May 15, a total of 270 students will graduate. A huge leap from a handful of first batch of graduates they had in 2008. That’s when he vividly recalled his sweet memories in Bangkok and the constant bit-by-bit success of St Roberts. He even ushered me to the framed photos hanging on the wall. Surprisingly, Dr. Robert brilliantly recited the names of the people in the photos and the occasions they were taken.
Bob, as Dr. Galindez is fondly called by his family and friends, happily shared the possibility of having the Minister of Education as guest speaker of this year’s graduation. They are scheduled to meet on Monday.
He also enthusiastically shared the company expansion and opening of St Roberts Academy and Bellarmine Global Education in Nonthaburi Province. Aside from offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, he said they will be offering elementary and secondary education this coming school year.
Perhaps the biggest news of our one hour talk was about the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation or ETEEAP. It is a “comprehensive educational assessment program at the tertiary level that recognizes, accredits and gives equivalencies to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values gained by individuals from relevant work”, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) website.
Dr. Galindez pointed out the importance of ETEEAP as it allows blue collar workers and non professionals to earn a degree in just one year. Filipinos in Thailand who work as nannies, hotel staff and other blue collar jobs will now be allowed to study and get a bachelor’s degree relevant to their line of work or experience. St Roberts will be partnered with Arellano University in offering this new program. It will be launched and explained personally by AU’s Academic Director when she visits the kingdom on April 7-8.
Despite his huge success, what we experienced yesterday evening was inspiring and indeed very humbling!