Sorsoganon teacher enters top 50 for Global Teacher Prize

Ryan Homan, a local champion for education, has been making waves through unconventional
reading initiatives in San Jose in the coastal town of Donsol in Sorsogon Province. Ryan first
stirred hearts when he caught the attention of media with ‘Balsa Basa.’ Armed with only passion,
he took on the challenges of poverty and topography, to make sure children realize their rights to

‘Balsa Basa’ is a reading initiative in San Jose Elementary school that centers on a raft. Teacher
Ryan uses the floating reading center to reach his students in far-flung areas so that he can teach
them to read. The raft is roofed and equipped with life vests. Books and food are brought aboard
usually every Saturday for some reading time with children. Teacher ‘Balsa Basa’ is only one of his
reading initiatives.

His brain also cooked up ‘Bangkaaraman’ (Boat of Knowledge), Walk for Knowledge, Reading
Festivals, organizing Nanay-Teachers for home-based reading corners to name a few. These are
all designed to make reading accessible to more children.

To date, Teacher Ryan has impacted the lives of hundreds of children not only in San Jose. He has
also started sharing the fruits of reading initiatives to other communities in Donsol, Sorsogon,
with the help of the municipal government. Last year, he was given the Civil Service Commission
‘Dangal ng Bayan’ award, the highest recognition given to government professionals in the
Philippines. International NGOs such as Fundación Educación y Cooperación – EDUCO enlists him
as one of their local child rights and education champions. 

EDUCO has been working with Ryan Homan since 2015. It was through the Foundation’s support
that reading initiatives in San Jose was fully implemented as Ryan intended it, leading to clear
improvements in the literacy rate of his school. Community members, fellow teachers, parents,
and community officials, were initially doubtful of education initiatives that went beyond the walls
of a classroom. They’ve had their hearts changed through eyes of children who’s finally read their
first words on their own.

And now, Varkey Foundation, the institution that runs the annual Global Teacher Prize is likewise
recognizing the extraordinary efforts of Ryan Homan to be one of the world’s best. This year’s
search puts Ryan at the top 50. They are scheduled to do validation visit to San Jose tomorrow
until Friday (4 to 5 January 2018).

The Global Teacher Prize awards US$1 million to one teacher who made exceptional contributions
to teaching as a profession, based on a set of criteria that looks at innovation, values, and impact.
A winner is usually announced every February. Ryan is one of two Filipinos up for the prize this
year, with Jesus Insilada of Bukidnon, also in the running.