In the Philippines, WONDER is working to ensure that underprivileged young women can continue their education online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic and typhoon Quinta in January 2021, have disproportionately affected marginalised communities in the Philippines. With schools closed and classes online, young women from underprivileged backgrounds are struggling to access online learning resources.
Many young women are living with poor or no internet connexion and many do not have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. As a result, they could fall behind in their education.
WONDER is working with our local partner FPTI to ensure that these young women can continue their education online during school closures and that the training programmes remain relevant post-COVID. FPTI is a network of five hospitality schools committed to transforming the lives of young women from underprivileged backgrounds through quality education with strong bridges into work.
Adapting to online learning during COVID-19
In spite of the challenges created by COVID-19, FPTI is adapting to new ways of teaching to ensure that young women can continue their education. In order to help their students adapt to online learning, FPTI staff have been doing online education training.
However, many students have little or no access to the tools they need to follow online classes. WONDER is working with FPTI to bridge this digital gap and give young women access to the technology and data they need to learn online.
To date, over 350 young women have already received a tablet with 3G connectivity to continue their education online. For many, having a tablet has made learning easier. “I have the time to do my activities without pressure and I don’t have to huddle with the people in the bus because I can join in the class even if I’m home”, Ma explains.
Keeping programmes relevant to the changing economy
Although the hospitality and tourism industry has been badly affected by COVID-19 in the Philippines, the food sector remains a key sector in the Philippines with demands for take-outs and home deliveries soaring. To keep its programmes relevant, FPTI is keeping a close eye on the changes in the food and hospitality industry and identifying the specific skills that will ensure their graduates are meeting the needs of the local job market.
Having access to tablets and internet connection also means that the young women who study at FPTI will also have a chance to hone their digital skills. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for all women to be IT literate. Using IT has become key in most sectors – from the simple use of social media to report writing and research.
Giving these young women access to technology will open up new opportunities for them in the future. Access to online learning means so much to these students. Marybeth, a teacher at one of the FPTI schools told WONDER: “what I find moving is to see how our students are struggling to beat the odds of poor connectivity in order to join the online classes or access online resources”.