To everyone here today, speakers, moderators, Magandang Hapon po sa inyong lahat. Maraming salamat sa pag-imbita (Thank you for this invitation.)
It is an honor to speak in front of all of you who are working to push for Sustainable Enterprises. Let me congratulate the organizers of this summit for making this possible. To hold this summit means that we are growing in number and stronger in our advocacy to create enterprises that are sustainable and making lives better.
For me social entrepreneurship is, in the simplest of terms is about “Doing good while doing well.” At first blush it seems like a concept that’s very easy to grasp and implement. Yet when we look at where we are now as an evolving society, it doesn’t always translate in our everyday life or in the enterprises that we lead. It’s always harder than it simply means.
As this Conference theme suggests Sustainable Enterprises is about People. Planet. Profit. I think many of the social enterprises in this room right now will agree with me when I say, the challenge for every social entrepreneur is how do we do make people’s lives better and still be sustainable. Whether it’s through the balance of planet resources or our own financial resources we need to develop solutions that help society, that is friendly to our planet and our pockets as well. In our case at Edukasyon.ph – our sustainable was to deliver our message and service through information technology – which we saw was a more sustainable means to delivering our message to millions of students out there. Let me tell you a little bit of how we are responding to the needs of our high schools students in particular – the social enterprise way of people, planet and profit, through information technology.
People – Web-based Career Solutions for every Filipino
For us at Edukasyon.ph, the core of what we do is about guiding students with the right education for employment through our website www.edukasyon.ph. As Carl Rogers once said, ‘the only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to change and learn. Our dream in Edukasyon.ph is for every Filipino to be transformed by their education, to be more flexible, adaptable, and resilient, to accept that education is a lifelong journey, and that the skills and attitude it imparts are worth much more than degrees collected. Because what’s the use of education when it won’t give you the requisite skills that you need to build the career that you want and one that fits you?
For decades our main problems as a country have been under- and un- employment, quality of education, poverty, corruption in government, peace and order, and violation of human rights. We see the first two – unemployment and poor education – as the key to all the others. This is why we at Edukasyon.ph are striving to address them. Our web-based platform seeks to educate our youth in making better, informed decisions when choosing their education and career. By giving students all the information they need, we want to equip them not only for employment but also for a career they will be proud of. In the digital age, information is the greatest wealth one can have. Its the great equalizer for those who are in the business of improving lives especially in the broader base of the population.
The birth of Edukasyon.ph is primarily owed to the lack of information when it comes to higher education. In early 2015 when we went around the country to talk to public high school students, whenever we asked what careers they would want to pursue, these 5 came up:
Nurse, Teacher, Policeman, Engineer, Soldier,
It quickly became obvious that our children have very limited understanding of what these professions require, and even less understanding of what other options are available to them. This is not their fault, but nonetheless it means that our educational system whose entire purpose is to form children and make them career-ready – has a flaw that needs to be addressed. We went from the 5, maybe 10 courses, that our public high school students could think of, to a database with more than 81,000 courses from all over the country, both at university and tech-voc level. Practically, this means that now a student from Zamboanga del Sur can now browse through all the courses offered from as far as the National Capital Region to his neighboring province of Misamis Occidental.
During the informal surveys that we conducted in our Career Clinics, we found out that 3-4 months before the full rollout of the K-12, students who are about to enter Grades 11 and 12, still do not have a clear, concrete understanding of what Senior High School is, what are the tracks? What’s the best track to take if you want to be a Journalist? A doctor? A soldier? A Political analyst? A Fashion Designer? We laid down everything the Filipino youth needs to know about the transition to K12. We help them understand what are the schools that best fit their criteria, meaning location, budget, interests. We have more than 12,000 senior high schools and colleges with the tracks that are available to them in these schools.
Throughout the time spent with all the education providers we keep hearing the word ‘scholarships’, yet very few universities or colleges in the country actually have a significant number of scholars. Why is this? The Philippines has one of the most underutilized scholarships pool. The reason why these scholarships don’t trickle down to those who need them, most is because there’s a lack of information. To solve this we have consolidated the scholarships available, and now have more than 4,000 types of scholarships (and counting) and they are all available in Edukasyon.ph.
Simply put, once a student registers, he has access to information to more than 81,000 courses, 12,000 campuses, 4,000 scholarships that he can find via mobile, tablet or desktop. And what makes this possible? Information technology. Just imagine that bulk of data being fitted in one platform, without information technology this would not have been impossible. This is how we empower people through information technology: knowledge is power.
Planet – On Demand Education Resource Saver for Parents and Students
Ours is a very direct platform that uses the least resources in delivering our services and information across. Basically, because we are online, the services we provide can be accessed without having to physically move, drive, ride a jeepney or taxi to visit, inquire, apply and pay for school application and tuition. No need to waste resources that are better invested in other efforts.
At our website students, parents, teachers and guidance counsellors can find the career preparatory information they need for career selection. Whether its an infographic, video, or a blog, or social media post, we have it at Edukasyon customized for our choosy career planner. For us information technology, becomes the great equalizer across student groups, since this information is available for free, online and customized to our tech-savvy users. To help us sustain this technology for free our students, schools and other education resource providers subscribe to our services through our Quick Apply and Quick Pay service where students can quickly apply and pay online for school services thru our site.
Profit – Getting Students Interested in You
Finally and most importantly, for our schools Edukasyon.ph is a low-cost but highly efficient marketing tool that helps schools, education resource providers reap SMART benefits. This is specially true now with our schools, now that competition has increased with the introduction of senior high schools to the system. At Edukasyon we make school applications SMART – Specific – schools are able to specify who are their prospective students, Measurable – this tool enables schools to measure turnout through another IT breakthrough which is analytics, Achievable – targets are met through honest evaluation, Relevant – 99 percent of schools that we’ve talked to have said that Edukasyon.ph is a relevant tool and this is proven by our partnership with CHED and other educational organizations, and Time-based – in the coming application season, we at Edukasyon will welcome our first batch of ‘Quick Apply’ users.
Edukasyon.ph is only one among the many social enterprises that rely on information technology in delivering public service. But one thing we do differently is we don’t just use technology to build things fast or to deliver better services to finish first. We use technology to empower people with informed choices to take a chance at themselves for their careers, make connections, reach a wider audience and create a deeper understanding of our needs as people. This we do in one of the pressing needs in our country today – education. All this only strengthens (if not cements) our resolve to make social enterprise in the Philippines the new norm.
This is Henry Motte Munoz, handa na po ako sa inyong mga katanungan.