online education

Coursera bullish on Philippine prospects

Aika Rey

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Coursera bullish on Philippine prospects

BULLISH. Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda speaks to reporters on November 17, 2021.


'Our strong momentum in the Philippines reflects the continued trend of individuals and institutions embracing online learning to develop high-demand digital skills,' says Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda

Global learning platform Coursera is bullish on the growth of its initiatives in the Philippines, as it partnered with new enterprises and campuses.

Over 1.3 million Filipino learners were on Coursera as of September, making the Philippines the third fastest growing country on the platform.

The Philippines is also Coursera’s biggest market in Southeast Asia, logging over 3.5 million enrollments from January 2020 to September 2021.

Coursera has been working with the Department of Science and Technology in training government employees. From January 2020 to September 2021, this partnership logged 2.4 million enrollments – more than two-thirds of the total Philippine enrollments.

“The pandemic has dramatically changed the way we learn, teach, and work,” said Coursera chief executive officer Jeff Maggioncalda in a briefing on Wednesday, November 17.

“Our strong momentum in the Philippines reflects the continued trend of individuals and institutions embracing online learning to develop high-demand digital skills,” he added.

According to Coursera’s Global Skills Report, learners in the Philippines are competent in business skills, but data and technology skills show opportunity for further development, particularly in “new-age” methods.

Based on the report, 57% of Filipino learners are competent in business skills, ranking 48th globally and 8th within the Asia Pacific.

Filipinos’ competency in data science is at 44%, ranking 60th globally and 15th in the Asia Pacific. Competency in technology skills lagged behind at 29% – 77th globally and 20th in the region.

Coursera also highlighted the importance of learning digital skills, citing an International Labour Organization report that 7.2 million Filipinos are at risk of losing their jobs due to automation.

“Given some of these trends, we do believe that there is an opportunity for us to serve all of that which is why we are doubling down on our efforts,” said Coursera managing director for Asia Pacific Raghav Gupta.

Interestingly, the most popular course for Filipinos is the COVID-19 Contact Tracing course from Johns Hopkins University, followed by language course First Step Korean offered by Yonsei University.

Another popular course is The Science of Well Being taught by Yale University.

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While enrollments in 2021 would certainly not beat 2020 levels given the reopening of the economy, Maggioncalda said figures by year-end would still be better than before the pandemic.

He said the new normal points to greater online learning adoption, adding that some universities worldwide even started allowing students to take Coursera courses as electives.

Maggioncalda also said some universities on the platform are offering full degree programs, including the University of London – 100% online. So far, Coursera is offering 33 undergraduate and master’s degrees, 27 of which are now available.

“The learner has to apply to the program, they get admitted by the university, they get taught by the same professors, they get the same grades, and they get diplomas that don’t say Coursera, they say diplomas from the university,” the Coursera CEO said.

In strengthening the Philippine market, Coursera partnered with new enterprise customers in the Ayala Group, including Ayala Corporation, Globe Telecom, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Ayala Land, for the upskilling of employees.

It also partnered with 60 new academic institutions, including Lyceum of the Philippines University, Centro Escolar University, National Teachers College, University of the Philippines, and De La Salle Lipa. –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at