This Startup Helps Students Select Their Ideal Schools and Courses
When the K to 12 program was implemented in the Philippine education system in 2013, Henry Motte Muñoz set a project in motion—a startup that initially sought to fill a gap in the school-hunting process. His brainchild, Edukasyon.ph, planted its roots as a search-and-apply engine to help students better explore their options for senior high school programs in Metro Manila. As time went on, he and his team expanded their horizons and went past senior high applicants to cater to the estimated 10 million students in the country. The platform linked students seeking secondary and tertiary education with the hundreds of institutions available to them, whether local, international, or online.
The French-Filipino founder behind the startup had the opportunity to pursue his studies abroad, earning a BSc in Economics and Economic History from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School. It was from his time away from home that he was first exposed to a business model similar to Edukasyon’s. “In my experience in the U.K. and U.S., there were centralized information systems to understand what, where, and how students can pursue higher education,” he says. “It was substantial and clear in terms of what courses are offered, what job opportunities are available in line with the courses you take and even the basics on how to apply.” He saw that Filipino students lacked these tools. “How to apply for scholarships, what are the kind of costs they should expect other than tuition, and even matters like what they need to know if they’re staying in the dorm—we started Edukasyon to address these issues.”
Edukasyon founder and CEO Henry Motte-Muñoz at a school fair in Pasay
When college application season rolls in, students would typically only aim to enter the top four universities—this is a misconception that Motte-Muñoz hopes to dispel. “This overlooks the fact that there are many other universities, institutions or educational programs out there offering specialized courses that can provide similar pathways to employment,” he says. At present, Edukasyon passed the 20,000 mark for its listed courses in over 13,000 institutions. Similar to the systems in U.K., U.S., and Australia, the platform also now enables Filipino users to directly inquire and apply to the aforementioned schools without having to pay any fee.
The prolific startup has since conquered challenge after challenge—everything from having to solve the lack of internet access among students (by partnering with school fairs, events, and even Facebook for Free Basics) to having to optimize the site to cater to its growing mobile audience. The site now attracts some one million unique users every month.
Edukasyon's Awards Night
Earlier in 2019, the Edukasyon platform announced it is partnering with e-commerce giant Amazon for AWS Educate, an online platform that provides lessons in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field and makes data science, machine learning, and software development more accessible to all. The team behind the site had noticed the increasing demand for these programs. “Our goal at Edukasyon is to ensure the Filipino youth are informed, empowered, and equipped to pursue their career interests,” says Motte-Muñoz, “With AWS Educate, we will be able to support our next generation of IT and cloud professionals and help set them up for career success.” This is in addition to the online degrees from the University of the Philippines – Open University and AMA University Online, and the short course platforms such as Udemy and Coursera that are already promoted on the site itself.
There will always be challenges for Edukasyon to tackle, however, and one such trial is getting through to Generation Z, or those born between 1995 to 2015. The platform is pushing for even stronger blog content and partnerships to reach this new audience, which is in “need for general guidance and advice on topics such as wellness and financial literacy,” according to Motte-Muñoz. He also sees the opportunity for online education to grow during this time, considering they are digital natives. It already started in March with the announcement of a year-long partnership with Asus that aims to reach out to Gen Z students and engage them in both offline and online lectures and demonstrations.
Motte-Muñoz speaks at the Gen Z Primer
The startup founder wants every student to know his or her journey from school to career is anything but linear, and a missed opportunity or a denied application might turn in something else: “There will always be opportunities to re-apply or to transfer, and with grit, they can keep finding ways to get onto their preferred path. One failure along the way does not mean they are out of options. In some cases, it may even open other doors you never thought to explore.”