MANILA - The GSMA, an organization of mobile operators around the world, is collaborating with Philippines government agencies and telecommunications companies Smart and Globe on a project that could provide access to education for up to 1 million out-of-school youth in the country.
For mEducation, the GSMA will provide out-of-school Filipino youth with opportunities to access education, including technical vocational education, via mobile media.
The collaboration is part of the program called Abot Alam, roughly translated as “reach knowledge” in Tagalog. The project aims to accelerate the adoption of mobile education solutions, particularly mobile-enabled portable devices, such as e-Readers and tablets.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), along with Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. (DMPI), Globe Telecom, and Smart Communications will participate in the project.
"Never before has such an ambitious mEducation collaboration taken place in the Philippines, involving all three mobile network operators and two key government agencies. Initiatives such as this will drive even greater growth and help to accelerate achievement of the desired objectives for such programs," Irene Ng, GSMA head of Asia, said.
"Supporting out-of-school youths 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,” said Education undersecretary Mario A. Deriquito.
In the Philippines, mobile technology is uniquely positioned to help bring education solutions to learners. Also the country has a very high adoption of mobile technology, with Filipinos sending over two billion SMS every day. The mobile penetration rate in the country was 105% as of end-2012.
“The Philippines has the potential to become a world leader in service provision of mobile-based technical-vocational training. With this collaboration, we believe that more OSYs will be able to be reintegrated into their communities through innovative programs and services designed to support them, helping to address the issue of young people leaving school early," said TESDA director general Joel Villanueva.
The GSMA will be showcasing the mEducation project at the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week and the GSMA Mobile World Congress, in February 2014.