CodePhil, a student-run nonprofit founded by Columbia and MIT undergraduates, aims to teach, empower, and connect the youth in rural Philippines through digital literacy skills.
Why We Care
We believe that equal access to quality education is the key to a world without poverty. Northern Samar, the site of our pilot programs, has a poverty incidence rate of 43.5%, the 9th highest in the Philippines. To overcome the poverty situation, the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) recently extended the length of public education by adding two more years to high school. The idea behind "senior high school" is to make students more employable immediately after graduating from high school. Furthermore, DepEd launched a nationwide computerization project for all schools to increase the digital literacy of students. By leveraging these existing assets, CodePhil hopes to build tech skills in high students and help them create technology infrastructures for their community.
Why the Philippines
The Philippines, which is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, has been rapidly developing its technology sector with its young and English speaking workforce. Despite the increase in jobs in the technology sector, a large job-skill mismatch is preventing youth from integrating into the labor market in the Philippines to fill the jobs. A report by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the country’s overall unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent in January 2016. However, nearly half (48.2%) of unemployed persons were from the 18-24 age group. Almost 80% of new jobs in the past 6 years have been generated by the service sector, such as tourism and retail trade. Digital literacy lies at the root of the skills gap for these new jobs, one that is not fulfilled by education in rural communities.