MANILA— Filipinos who would like to pursue their studies or shift careers can get undergraduate or graduate degrees from some of the world's top universities without leaving their home with the help of the online learning platform Coursera.
So far, Coursera has 33 fully accredited bachelor's and master's degrees. Out of the total, 27 are now available, Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda told reporters in his first virtual conference for the country.
"The pandemic introduced to learners all over the world the whole opportunity of online learning," Maggioncalda said.
"So we do have full degree programs, hundred percent online. The learner has to apply to the program, they get admitted by the University, they get taught by the same professors, they get the same grades, and they get diplomas that don't say Coursera, they say diplomas from the university," he added.
Some schools which have full online courses include the University of London, the University of Michigan and University of North Texas, among others.
Coursera said it now has 60 new campus customers including the Mapua University.
Engaging Coursera heightens the employability of graduates, Mapua president Reynaldo Vea said.
Vea said with Coursera the student could "use materials from reputable institutions to augment whatever we’re teaching in the classroom."
The platform said it has also supported 60,000 enrollments with finacial aid, with the Philippines being its second-largest share of learners as recipients of support in Southeast Asia.
Coursera now has 92 million registered learners, 1.3 million of which are in the Philippines.
In 2020, the Philippines registered 1 million new learners and 3.5 million enrollments, the highest in Southeast Asia, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At least 61 percent of Filipinos also use mobile to learn from the platform compared to the 48 to 50 percent global average.
Coursera said the most popular courses in the Philippines from October 2020 until September 2021 were the following:
- COVID-19 Contract Tracing from John Hopkins University
- First Step Korean from Yonsei University
- The Science of Well Being from Yale University
- Write Professional Emails in English from Georgia Tech University
- Excel Skills for Business: Essentials from Macquarie University
- Programming for Everybody from University of Michigan
- English for Career Development from University of Pennsylvania
- Learning How To Learn from Deep Teaching Solutions
- Technical Support Fundamentals from Google
- Learn to Speak Korean 1 from Yonsei University
But Maggioncalda said among the platform's key goals is to bridge the gap in the digital divide.
Cloud computing and machine learning are the "really big trends" right now as customers and businesses move online.
Filipinos are at risk of losing jobs from automation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, citing studies.
“The pandemic has spurred large-scale upskilling among enterprises and governments. Universities can help reduce the skills shortage by improving student employability through industry-relevant content,” said Coursera Managing Director for Asia Pacific Raghav Gupta.
The International Labor Organization earlier said the country has lost the most number of working hours in the ASEAN region last year due to the pandemic.
In 2020, the Philippines posted a decrease of 13.6 percent in working hours compared to the regional average of 8.4 percent,the ILO said.
Recruitment portal Jobstreet has also been urging Filipino jobseekers to upskill and retool themselves to become more employable in the new normal.
The pandemic has not only accelerated the usage of online learning platforms but also boosted the demand for tech jobs.