As a student living in a third-world country, it is hard to deny how hard it is to get proper information about schools and universities here in the Philippines. Concerning that, because of the pandemic, the difficulty also increased. Through the virus, it becomes harder for students and their parents to make decisions regarding education.
In high school, I was one of those students who had a hard time knowing what I want to pursue in the future. I felt lost and anxious not knowing what program to choose from, and what courses to take. I was not sure what college would suit me for the coming years of my life.
During my days as a senior high school student, I visited two websites: Finduniversity.ph and Edukasyon.ph - both of which helped me find information on where to apply to, and what course to take. Both websites function in a way as a directory for the different educational institutions in the country - with school descriptions, contact numbers, and point persons.
These websites made me feel relieved, being a guide for my decisions on which course and what university to choose. The student inside me also had this inner feeling of happiness and joy, seeing that tech in the Philippines is gradually evolving and being used for social change.
What is Edukasyon.ph?
Edukasyon.ph is an online platform that aims to guide the Filipino youth in finding educational information for them to be guided for their future professions. It connects students to different schools and universities providing them with advice, tips, and guides. Aside from such, the website also has different articles, games, and opportunities - all of which with the intent to help the youth be knowledgeable about their future.
Edukasyon.ph operates as a social media site that aims to educate and inform the youth in making decisions for their future. Right now, according to their website, Edukasyon.ph attracts more than ten million users every year. They have worked with hundreds of different partners - ranging from schools, both local and international, corporations, and foundations.
During my senior high years, I was heavily addicted to social media. Through that, the idea of a website subtly helping me find what I want and help me find a college made Edukasyon.ph memorable for me. Up until now, I often visit the website for information regarding college life, upskilling, or just information about education in general.
Finduniversity.ph, on the other hand is a website operated by Edukasyon.ph. It features an extensive course directory and also feedbacks from previous alumni from the different programs. Going back to the past, I would recall that I visited this site a lot as a senior high school student. It helped me see what my college program was all about, and what former alumni would have to say about their alma mater. Through here, I was able to gauge which universities were optimal to apply in.
Now, as a junior college student, my worries of aimlessness were alleviated. I am starting to see my passions clearly, and I am starting to see what I want to achieve in a better perspective.
These two made it easier for me to find information about universities and different education-related information here in the Philippines. These helped me understand the essence of finding my passion and how important it is to go out and chase it.
That story of mine is only one chapter though, and there are millions of youth living in the country. Millions are struggling with what they want to become in the future. I looked for a fellow student who was able to use different platforms and was also guided by the information it provided. I got a chance to chat up Faustina, a first year BA Sociology studying in the University of Sto. Tomas.
Marc: What challenges did you face when choosing a university/course for college? Do you have other struggles regarding education information?
Faustina: Finding the right university and program suited for my skill set was a challenge. Although there is information out there on the internet regarding the number of units, subjects to take, career opportunities, etc., I think these pieces of information are very limited because there's so much more that goes in enrolling in a university.
Deciding which university and program you will choose to be in is a big decision in life, and I think that institutions, as a place for learning and molding thought-leaders, have the responsibility to show what their institutions can offer, and these institutions are lacking in that aspect.
This is not just a challenge for me, but for many Filipinos who do not have access to such information. I think that is also the reason why many feel lost and unfulfilled with the degree they finished because they weren't "informed enough" to make a wise decision.
Marc: How did these websites help you as a student?
Faustina: Edukasyon.ph, as well as Reddit, was my go-to website when I was university hunting. Edukasyon.ph provides a list of universities, as well as their offered programs and their tuition range. It made my life much easier.
On the other hand, Reddit helped me in gathering real-life experiences, insights, and tips from university students. Of course, subreddits are filled with mixed opinions but it helped me to get a feel of a university's vibe and have a glimpse of their campus life.
Marc: What message would you like to give to Filipino students who feel lost right now?
Faustina: Being lost is not a sign of failure. Feeling lost can become a learning opportunity or a devastating experience, depending on your perspective. Sometimes, it's a matter of perspective and you have to be willing to help yourself find the right path for you. We're all still young and traversing through this somewhat chaotic world, so we can treat it as a time for discovery and a chance for self-growth. Of course, it's not easy. There are instances where I felt that the I foresee does not show anything promising. But we must also remember that there are people we can talk with and ask for guidance; for us to be redirected toward the path for us.
Marc: Do you believe that tech in the Philippines can create social change and impact? How?
Faustina: Now that we're in a digital world, technology surely creates social change. Technology, when used for the right purpose, can certainly uplift many lives. It breaks barriers and geographical borders, which can be taken advantage of to connect to far-flung villages to address their concerns. Many changemakers are spearheading projects with the use of technology to help communities. It starts with baby steps which will eventually lead to bigger ones.
I completely agreed with Faustina during our conversation. Education tech is highly progressing and creating impact in the Philippines, aiding students make well-crafted decisions for students’ future.
As one would see going through the website, Edukasyon.ph is “Making the future less scary for the Filipino youth” and that, for me, is something worth knowing. The quote makes me feel safe and guided. Talking about the future can elicit different reactions and emotions for younger people, but now at least we see these organizations doing their best to help the future become less scary.