Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Elvin Ivan Uy was a key player in transforming the Philippines’ education system.

From 2011-2016, Uy served in the Philippine Department of Education, where he helped broaden the publicly funded program, increasing it from 10 years to 13 years (through implementing grades 11-12 and universal kindergarten) as well as enhancing the curricula in grades 1-10.

“The Philippine basic education system undertook the most comprehensive and substantial transformation in the last six years,” said Brother Armin Luistro FSC, former secretary of the Department of Education. “The scope covered more than 47,000 schools, 26 million students and 700,000 teachers in public schools nationwide.”

“Elvin was present in the initial consultation meetings for consensus-building among various stakeholders, was the point person in succeeding meetings that sought to resolve critical issues that arose during the implementation phase and continues to have the heart and memory of the K-12 program,” he continued. “He can surely be counted among the most accomplished young educational leaders in Asia.”

In recognition of his work (first, as K-12 program coordinator and then as assistant secretary for Curriculum and Instruction), Uy will be honored with CMU’s 2017 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, which will be presented during commencement weekend.

“Elvin was selected to receive an Alumni Achievement Award for the great impact he has had on K-12 education in the Philippines, which has changed the educational landscape for millions of Filipino students and prepares them to compete in the global workforce,” said Nancy Merritt, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations.

Work at the department was a rewarding turn for Uy, who spent more than four years in the telecommunications industry before heading to CMU-Australia in 2010 to earn his master’s degree from the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. At the time Uy was awarded an Australia Awards Scholarship.

“I wanted to shift to development work,” Uy explained, “and saw the Heinz College Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) program as a way to gain the necessary skills, perspectives and credibility to go into an entirely different sector.”

His degree paved the way for a successful transition.

“I learned so much about the intricacies of public policy, development and governance with our coursework and from enriching day-to-day interactions and discussions with professors and fellow students who come from different parts of Asia Pacific, Africa and the Americas,” he said.

“I probably wouldn’t have been able to pull off my career shift from the telecommunications industry to the public sector had I not gone through the MSPPM program.” Elvin Ivan Uy

Uy particularly highlighted the capstone Systems Synthesis course. His geographically dispersed team — from Washington to Pakistan to Australia and more — completed a project for the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Public Administration.

“2010 was simply a great year overall,” Uy said.

With a successful track record, Uy is in the midst of planning the next step in his public policy career.

“I’m looking to continue some of my advocacies and work in education reform,” he said.

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Photo caption: Elvin Ivan Uy takes a selfie with Filipino high school students during the first day of school on June 13, 2016. That day saw the Philippines rollout of nationwide senior high schools, a first in the country’s history and a milestone nearly six years in the making.