Every year, 1.4 million high school students in the Philippines graduate high school, with little to no guidance on how to navigate their college (or employment) options. They pick universities based on who has a celebrity endorser, who visited their campus, who is nearest, who has the best basketball team, or they use incomplete recommendations from relatives and classmates. There are no rankings, no national entrance exams, no centralized application system, and a byzantine system of scholarships which most students are unable to navigate. The resulting statistics are dismal: Of the 1.4 million high school graduates per year, 500,000 will never go to college because they can’t afford it. Of the 900,000 who attend college, 300,000 drop out, usually because they picked the wrong course or can’t afford to continue. Of the 600,000 who graduate, 40% or more are considered completely unemployable due to low skills or insufficient industry demand for their skills. This contributes to the 30% youth unemployment rate in the country, an alarming factor in the Philippines’ striking poverty rate. The education to employment highway in the Philippines, like in many other countries, is simply broken.
Edukasyon.ph believes that every student deserves a quality and relevant education that leads to a career. Its interactive website places students at the center, empowering them to take ownership of their futures through choice, advice and convenience. The CARES program ensures that these students are supported by invested and informed stakeholders by training parents, school administrators, guidance counselors and teachers to support students. For example, Edukasyon.ph helps the 15-year-old student establish his career pathway: he browses videos of professional chefs, lawyers, and engineers sharing their experiences. He learns how much these professions pay, and whether or not the profession is expanding. Then Edukasyon works backwards with him: if he wants to be an engineer, he is shown what he needs to study in senior high school and then in college. Finally, Edukasyon shows him the best place for him to study engineering in the Philippines, based on his aptitude and budget. Edukasyon.ph’s goal is to support every Filipino student in their journey from their education to their dream career. Edukasyon.ph currently reaches over 50,000 students, parents and guardians every month, and unique visits have grown by over 30% a month. To date, Edukasyon has impacted more than 200,000 students online, and 30,000 students in face-to-face sessions in public and private schools. These users can browse over 4,000 scholarships, 2,300 schools and 200 careers – providing unprecedented choice to students, who can filter schools and courses based on location, duration, cost and entry requirements.
Edukasyon is constantly striving to provide more advice, choice and support for students across the Philippines. In the next year, the team plans to focus on developing assessments for students and providing more individualized advice on how to navigate choosing a dream career. In addition, it is also building an online ranking system embedded in its website to support students in making the best decision for their education and career pathway.
Ultimately, problems as complex as youth unemployment require extensive cooperation between educators, government, businesses and foundations. Educasyon.ph firmly believes that technology can massively reduce information asymmetry, and facilitate cooperation between the various stakeholders in education to employment – all for the benefit of the Filipino youth.
Read an update from Edukasyon (May 10, 2018).
Henry Motte-Muñoz (MBA 2013) is the founder of Edukasyon.ph and a Summer 2012 HBS Social Enterprise Summer Fellow. A French-Filipino citizen, he set up Edukasyon.ph after working for Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital.