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Edukasyon.ph: Ensuring a future for our youth

When I first met Henry Motte-Muñoz, he was a young French-speaking student researching on the Edsa People Power Revolution.

His keen interest in the Philippines may be traced to his Filipino roots, his mother belonging to the old and prominent Juico-Muñoz family of Angeles.

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His family’s work on livelihood programs, health care access, and legal and human rights inspired him. But it is really his deep unease with the inequality in the country that brought him back home after his studies at the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School and a lucrative investment banking career.

Motte-Muñoz came home to start Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption NGO keeping watch on government agencies, but right now all his efforts are focused on Edukasyon.ph. It is directed at improving education and employment outcomes, an urgent thrust after its findings that while 2 million Filipinos turn 18 each year, the number who finish high school, graduate from college, and find a job is a mere 300, 000 students.

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An alarming disparity that means more than 80 percent of students are left behind at some stage in their educational journey. He says, “If you’re building a country’s future on its youth, you have to ensure that the youth has a future.”

Edukasyon.ph is the country’s largest education platform today, assisting 8 million students and unemployed youth aged 13 to 24 every year, which represents 50 percent of high school and college students, leading them to the right education path and counseling them through their journey until they are prepared for the world of work.

It is an educational counseling service on scholarships, online courses, internships, and other related questions.

Edukasyon.ph is completely free. It is on Facebook and Google. One creates a profile on the platform and can seek the advice one needs. It is like an adventure page, lively and attractive for its student clientele.

Founded in 2013, it now strives to reach the other 8 million students in high school and college. As a yardstick to measure its efforts, its level of engagement is studied: “How many have registered on the platform, communicated with, and applied to those schools? How many have taken online courses, or are consuming educational content that’s been created by Edukasyon’s hundreds of partners?” That number is currently an encouraging 500,000 that continues to grow.

Its student demographics reveal the following: More than 70 percent are not from Metro Manila, 40 percent are from high school, 40 percent from college, and 20 percent are older than 23. Students are from private and public schools. It maintains a scholarship portal developed with former education secretary Armin Luistro that lists thousands of scholarships available for application online.

It is not without the typical challenges. If students and schools do not have cheap and reliable internet access, it is difficult to conduct business. The shift to digitization is not easy for many schools, so Edukasyon.ph also becomes a companion on that journey. Generally, Filipino students are trained to follow parental and teacher guidance in their choice of courses.

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They need to have all the information to guide them in their choices, with these questions to be considered: Is the course suited to my skills and interests? How to reconcile it with my parents’ and my own dreams? Do I have the financial resources to see this through?

With much work to be done by Edukasyon.ph, the Young Global Leaders Award from the World Economic Forum for the 34-year-old Motte-Muñoz was a blessing, because of the international attention it gives the advocacy toward more partnerships and learning from other global models.

These Young Global Leaders are described as “exceptional people with the vision, courage and influence to drive positive change in the world.” (Another Filipino awardee is Cherrie Atilano, who is into agribusiness and with another remarkable story.) Motte-Muñoz does us Filipinos proud.

NOT QUITE THE FINAL WORD: This is the last Saturday for “The Learning Curve” in this space. Needless to say, the conversations on education, literacy, books, and reading with all of you have been enlightening and will have to continue. Thank you for being similarly impassioned and engaged through the four years of the column.

Neni Sta. Romana Cruz ([email protected]) is a member of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

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TAGS: Armin Luistro, Bantay.ph, edsa people power, Edukasyon.ph, Henry Motte-Muñoz
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