Using mobile to give out-of-school Filipino youth education opportunities

  • Mobile technology uniquely positioned to help bring education solutions to out-of-school youth in Philippines
  • Mobile penetration rate was 105% at end of 2012; smartphone penetration rate grew from 9% to 24% in one year

Using mobile to give out-of-school Filipino youth education opportunitiesThe GSM Association (GSMA) has announced it would be working with government agencies and mobile network operators to provide up to one million Filipino out-of-school youth (OSY) with additional opportunities to access education, including technical vocational education, via mobile media.
 
Government partners include the Philippines Department of Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; while the operators are Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.
 
The operators are cooperating to complement the efforts of multiple government agencies by extending knowledge to OSY, especially those in underserved areas and geographically isolated communities, with the support and reach of mobile technology, the GSMA said in a statement.
 
The National Statistics Office of the Philippines reports that in 2011, there were at least 6.24 million out-of-school youth in the country.
 
“We are excited to be acting as advisor for this mEducation initiative, providing support to include best practice and business model expertise to the project,” said Irene Ng, head of Asia, GSMA.
 
“Never before has such an ambitious mEducation collaboration taken place in the Philippines, involving all three mobile network operators and two key government agencies.
 
“The Asian mEducation market is projected to reach US$6.8 billion by 2017. Initiatives such as this, especially involving multi-stakeholder partnership, will drive even greater growth and help to accelerate achievement of the desired objectives for such programmes,” she said.
 
Mobile technology is uniquely positioned to help bring education solutions to learners, including OSY, in the Philippines, the GSMA said.
 
The country has a very high adoption of mobile technology and is known as the ‘SMS capital of the world,’ with Filipinos sending over two billion messages every day. The mobile penetration rate in the country was 105% by the end of 2012 and the smartphone penetration rate nearly tripled between 2010 and 2011, growing from 9% to 24&%.
 
The GSMA’s global mEducation project aims to accelerate the adoption of mobile education solutions, particularly mobile-enabled portable devices, such as e-readers and tablets.
 
It forms part of the GSMA vision of a ‘Connected Life,’ a world where everything intelligently connects via mobile networks, delivering rich services to businesses and consumers in every aspect of their lives, the association said.
 
“I’m happy about the level of collaboration happening in the mEducation market in the Philippines,” said Mario A. Deriquito, Dept of Education Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages.
 
“From a government perspective, supporting out-of-school youth is a priority for 2014 and beyond. We welcome the support that can be facilitated by mobile education because we believe it’s a flexible medium that can help us tackle a lot of the challenges we face in the education and training sector in our country.
 
“Given that many of the efforts to assist OSY will be localised, mobile technology provides us with a tool that can help unify and coordinate this work even from a distance,” he said.
 
The GSMA will be showcasing the mEducation project at the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week and the GSMA Mobile World Congress, both of which will take place in February 2014.
 
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