phone applications unveiled this week aim to reduce the high number
of young people who are not in schools in the Philippines by offering
them new ways to engage in education.
The apps, which were
presented this week at the Mobile World Congress (24-27 February) in
Barcelona, Spain, include a portal to help those outside education
find courses near them, an app to teach English to out-of-school
teenagers through phone calls and another app to help teachers track
the progress of students taking such courses.
In 2011, more
than six million young people were outside the education system in
the Philippines, according to the country’s National Statistics
Office. The nation’s Department of Education aims to provide
education to at least one million of them in 2014.
government is confident it will meet this target partly through the
use of mobile technology, Stephanie Velasco-Orlino, education
programme manager at Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications,
phones are widely used in the Philippines, with the population
reported to send around two billion text messages a day, according to
— Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts
report published in June 2013 by telecommunications consultancy
Overall, Asia’s mEducation market is projected to
reach a value of US$6.8 billion by 2017, according to the GSMA, an
association that represents mobile operators worldwide.
three mobile applications unveiled this week are the result of a
GSMA-facilitated partnership between the Philippines’ Department of
Education and three telecommunications firms: Globe Telecom, Digital
Mobile Philippines and Smart Communications.
mobile network operators in the country … are working to provide
mobile education services to help the government to reach their goal
faster”, says Velasco-Orlino.
company has just launched an online portal that allows young people
who are not in school to find tailored training programmes.
Communications also aims to build a database of its users so it can
find out where these young people are located and tell them about
courses that nearby education centres offer. This could help
potential students find information on where to go to school, given a
general lack of infrastructure and the destruction caused by
The system is due to be available in the second
quarter of 2014 both for smartphones with an internet connection and
for older phones, through an interactive voice response (IVR)