Henry Motté-Muñoz is the founder of Edukasyon.ph and has been working hard to bridge the gap between education and employment.
Murphy Report is honored to work alongside Edukasyon.ph to produce Career Conversations, targeting students in high school and senior high to consider their career paths as early as they can. Each video features people who have greatly contributed to their craft, and serve as inspiration for those who wish to follow their footsteps.
Can you give us a short background of what Edukasyon.ph is?
Edukasyon.ph is a one-stop shop for higher education. It’s a social enterprise that helps high school students figure out what to study, either in terms of college courses, or technical educational courses, for the careers they desire. It also helps those who look for scholarships to help finance them.
How did it all begin?
I initially thought of Edukasyon.ph in the summer of 2012, when I was in Manila and I was talking to my cousin who was going to apply for college. I was a bit surprised by how unstructured the whole process and how there were a lot of information gaps. I decided to set it up after graduating from Business school in the US and so I got Lites Viloria, who is our country CEO, to join, and we really kick-started the project in 2014.
What are the services or programs do you provide in Edukasyon.ph?
There are two ways to think about it. If you are a student, it’s nice because it’s free. The first step is to search, so we give you all the opportunities you can find. There are 50,000 courses, and 3,000 scholarships. Then you can filter and compare. The second step is to empower you to pick the course you like, we give you advice in terms of what courses lead to what jobs.
For the universities, what we offer is a chance for them to see where the students are coming from, who is applying, who is not applying, how can they improve what they offer to get the students more interested in them?
Can you give us a couple of schools you are affiliated with right now? How did you gather a database?
We are working with public high schools and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) accredited universities in Baguio, Pampanga, NCR, Cebu and Davao. For our database we work with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DEPED) to ensure that the schools on the site are those that are accredited. We visit the public schools and assist college-bound students search for careers, courses, and colleges that can help them get employed in the future. We have a team that goes around the Philippines speaking to universities one by one. And it’s very interesting because when you speak to them you sort of understand their differences.
How do you see the education system in the Philippines?
What’s interesting about the education in the Philippines is that it’s really not a supply problem. There are actually 2 or 3 times the amount of courses or institutions per capita than in the US. We have over 2,300 universities and over 2,000 types of colleges. That’s over 4,000 to 5,000 institutions. The issue is more around quality. Since there is no ranking system in the country, it’s quite hard to figure out where you should study. What school actually offers the best path at getting employed? Who offers the best value? Are there courses that you can be taking that can be shorter? We think these are the kinds of information worth having, and if you have these, you can make the right choice.
How many scholarships have you granted or students you have helped with the program?
A common misperception is that we offer scholarships. What we do is we find scholarships that already exist which people may not know about. We already have referenced close to 3,000, but we think this is only the beginning. We think there are thousands and thousands of scholarships in the country. In fact very often when I meet people and I tell them what I do, they tell me, “Oh you know I give one scholarship or my uncle gives a scholarship or this community organization I know gives a scholarship”, but very often these opportunities are not shared.
As for how many students we have tried to help, we already presented to about 25,000 students, about what they can do with the website, including looking for scholarships. We’ll find out in the next academic year how many people ended up finding a scholarship, but we hope many.
Talk about what you do when you visit different schools.
We get endorsed by DepEd to different schools. We’ve done about 30 or 40 of Career Clinics. Because we view education as a path towards employment, it’s very important that we speak to kids about their education. Usually these clinics last for about an hour and we have a team that plays games and asks questions, but the focus is really around what you want to be. What’s very interesting is quite often, this is the first time the students are asked these questions, and so they don’t know what to say. So we ask them, “Do you enjoy Math? Do you enjoy building things? Do you like physical activities?” Once they identify what they want to be, say you want to become a journalist, what are the different paths you can take, in terms of college courses? We leave the last 15 minutes to show them how to search for these different courses and careers on our website.
What are your future plans for Edukasyon.ph?
We’re focusing on Senior High School, which is incredibly important because of the K-12 reform. Kids who have previously gone to college now have to go to Grade 11. We put together a database of most of the Senior High Schools in this country so that when they go on the website, they will be able to figure out where they can go.
The second thing we are launching is quick pay function, where you can apply and also pay your tuition online, to make enrolment easier.
Other things include study abroad, and help in terms of labor market information, so we are not just telling you where you could study, but also helping you figure out what kind of jobs you can get.
I think what’s difficult is that Filipino students are coming from a system where they tend to ask their immediate circle for advice, so getting them to change from “I only ask my parents.” They don’t tend to ask their Guidance Counselor a lot of information about college, unless they are having problems. We find it’s getting them to get a new mindset, to think about what do they really want to be, do they understand the path they need to get there?
Another is that we work with a lot of government agencies, and we found all of them to be very helpful, but they are all quite separate. We need to speak to different people and branches of government to work on the same goal.
Education is at times a conservative industry so before we can make changes, there’s a lot of stakeholders involved. When we speak to schools, they are very open to ideas but they need time to consider if it’s the path they want to take.
What is the current trend of courses and jobs students pursue?
We’re seeing that students are making a clear link between education and employment. I think the introduction of Senior High meant that people are thinking earlier about specializing. At Senior High you have to pick a strand: vocational, academic, sports, or arts and design.
Another thing is a rise in industry participation. For a long time a lot of the industries would complain about labor shortages, and how the education system is failing them. Industries are realizing that they have to be involved; employers are laying out what they want employees to learn in school, and are developing better internship programs and on-the-job trainings.
There are a couple of universities that are facing a fall in enrollment because there is a growing amount of institutions that are allowed to operate, and they’ve grown a bit faster than the number of students enrolling, so it creates a bit of a competitive field. We think that’s better because if there’s more competition, students are going to be offered a higher quality of product.
Aside from Edukasyon.Ph, you are involved in Bantay.PH, can you tell us about it?
Bantay.PH is a good governance NGO that focuses on citizen engagement. It was set up in 2012, I co-founded it with a childhood friend Happy Feraren, who now runs it while I stay on as an adviser. We focus on educating citizens about their rights, and mapping out government services for them. Like what are the steps to get a business permit, what are the offices that will deliver these permits with the least amount of bribes? We really want to help the citizen navigate, and also get him or her involved by either giving feedback or
tracking that the office they go to is not as corrupt as others. We also have the Integrity School where we go around universities and speak to students about what it means to be a citizen, what can you do to make a citizen better, and about how should we think about good governance?
Visit www.edukasyon.ph for more details. Contact Edukasyon.ph at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. No. (+63 2) 823 2701.
Interview – Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Videography – Cris Legaspi, Lisandro Molina, and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
Photography – Cris Legaspi
Text – Jenette Vizcocho
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