Resiliency planning has been the main strategy for all sectors of society in dealing with the effects of COVID-19. The government’s recent announcement of policies on easing the mobility restrictions to restart the economy has been a subject of debate. This is particularly true in the education sector where the youth’s development and health concerns are at risk.
AmCham Philippines hosted a webinar entitled Digital Solutions and the Future of Education that tackled the issues in the current system. It has provided an avenue for Cloudswyft and the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) an avenue to share their insights and solutions to improve the quality of learning for everyone.
The solution given by Cloudswyft was founded on studies that observed the skills deficiency across the ASEAN region. The company acknowledges that some jobs have stopped, redefined under restrictions, or don’t exist yet. Thus, future-ready technology skills are going to become a necessity from this point on. Proficiencies on Data Analysis & AI, Blockchain, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the skills that are being in demand. In identifying the needed competencies, Cloudswyft proposes an end-to-end cloud-based technology learning platform .
The standardized platform has designed its courses for learners to develop future-ready skills. It serves students of educational institutions and professionals in their needed upskilling. Cloudswyft distinguishes itself from other course learning platforms by emphasizing its hands-on labs, blended learning mentorship, and recognized digital credentials.
The platform offers several benefits. First, learners save time and effort in travelling to reach computer labs in schools and offices. This solution recognizes the horrendous traffic in the Philippines, and encourages productivity savings for both students and employers / educators. Second, the platform can be used on any device. The software materials and tools are accessible with an internet connection and a web browser. Third, students can actively engage in interactive lab exercises, requiring collaboration. This enhances the online learning experience than simply viewing videos and answering assessments individually. Lastly, educators and administrators can easily adapt to the students’ needs and adjust requirements accordingly.
This solution follows the trend during this time in a pandemic. The post-pandemic reality is visioned to be an education that uses blended learning. It is a more self-paced learning experience through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and other software applications, moderated by virtual instructors.The technological integration to the learning process is highlighted to equip students with relevant skills fit for the digital age.
While Cloudswyft shared a possible solution, PBEd gave a more concise analysis on the situation on education. The representative described that even before the pandemic striked, the country was already facing an educational crisis. This refers to the 2018 PISA results which shed light on the low proficiencies of students across subjects. However the state of education the country currently has, the PBEd is optimistic in improving for the long-term.
PBEd shares its insights on the job market during the 4th Industrial Revolution. Companies are expected to continuously integrate technology in its operations and employers are searching for individuals with transversal and socio-emotional skills. On the other hand, flexible online learning options can be extended to the needed upskilling and reskilling of the workforce. A greater investment in the K-12 system for improvement is also a must.
The government should create inclusive and equitable policies, and find ways to implement flexible learning options for its youth. It must be able to tackle concerns rooted in socio-economic factors such as the digital accessibility, the low labor force participation with rising unemployment rates, and the educators’ deficiency of competencies across the country. PBEd has found that the youth actively seek to develop their technical, leadership, and communication skills with mental health support which needs to be provided for.
Despite a bearish economic outlook, 85% of employees are willing to undergo skills enhancement and training. This shows the creation of new job opportunities and new roles needed for a society that is adapting to the changes all around. Learning platforms such as Skills to Succeed by Accenture, First Future, YouthWork PH and STEPUP by PBEd are also available. The representative proudly shared its YouthWork PH program of PBEd in partnership with USAID to provide a work-based training program to young Filipinos.
PBEd shares Cloudswyft’s forecast that education will now be flexible and blended. It notes that learning assessments will become a method of measuring one’s skills too. The partnership between private and public will most likely be strengthened as well as the parent / community involvement in the education journey of students.
For these plans to bear fruit, PBEd encouraged the private sector to continuously develop accessible learning platforms, quality content, and improved connectivity. Moreover, it is imperative that in this age of information, shared data among educational institutions and the R&Ds of companies collaborate to provide high quality materials and courses for learners. The organization hopes that partnerships be formalized and institutionalized, cementing the groundwork for this development in the country’s education sector.
To conclude, it’s no secret that Filipinos are frequent online users and crave information. The challenge lies in providing platforms of learning, like Cloudswyft, and educational reforms that produce skilled and productive individuals of society.