Education is the social elevator that empowers the youth to learn and grow. And when the youth is empowered, the entire country benefits.
An effective education has to have three important aspects:
- Quantity (are there enough number of courses, at various price points, available in every province?)
- Quality (does it provide students with employable skills?)
- Efficiency (does it solve the country’s unemployment problem?)
The third, for me, is the least addressed. While it is good to have a college education, it is not the right fit for every single person. We need to move away from a mentality of ‘more is better’ to ‘more efficient is better’.
The longest course or the most expensive lessons are not necessarily the best options. This is the why I founded Edukasyon.ph in the Phillippines, to help people curate the available options and allow students to compare by location, topic, amount, and type.
Reaching beyond the middle classes
Ultimately, it often is the poorest people who need help understanding options for higher education. But unfortunately they are also least likely to have access to the internet.
Luckily, we are experiencing a large growth in user base, with penetration in the Philippines going from nine percent of the population in 2009 to about 50 percent in 2015, and projected to grow to about 70 percent by 2018. We are seeing similar encouraging trends across Asia.
But still, how can we reach out to the other 30 per cent?
We do school tours in public high schools, and we are setting up partnerships with local organizations, telco providers, or local authorities.
Another strategy was launching a partnership with Facebook’s FreeBasics, in order to provide student’s access to our website for free, without a data plan.
A changing landscape over the next decade
The rising use of the Internet, studying abroad, and more discriminating customers are some of the key themes for the next decade.
With increasing Internet penetration, it is just a matter of time until our classrooms add an online component. And with this, more students will be exploring international educational opportunities.
The last decade has seen significant growth in education offerings, covering a wide variety of teaching styles, tuition costs and employability.
As the sector matures, we think students will be more aware of the options available to them. Higher quality institutions (both public and private) will attract increasing amounts of students, and lower-quality providers will have to evolve or fold.
The hope for Edukasyon.ph is through our database of 3,000 scholarships and 50,000 courses, college/career advice for students and application help, quality schools can expand their reach and the cream will rise to the top.
A dream for the future
Free, convenient, well-designed access to information is the most basic step to providing the younger generations with opportunities.It will not completely solve poverty, undereducation, or youth unemployment but it is a step in the right direction. Luckily we are seeing more and more stakeholders — from the government, to the private sector and foundations — realize the importance of access to information.
This, is a very promising trend for the future.
Henry Motte-Muñoz is the founder of Edukasyon.ph, a college and career counselor, wrapped into a free website. It offers the largest database of college, tech-voc courses, and scholarships available for high school students. It currently operates in the Philippines, but is in talks with various partners to expand across ASEAN.