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Ayala education unit expands partnership with Coursera

AYALA-LED education holding firm iPeople, Inc. expanded its partnership with online course provider Coursera, Inc. to offer around 10,000 more licenses on the online platform.

“What we’re doing now is we’ll be expanding this partnership to go from covering about 6,000 students and faculty to covering 16,000 students, faculty, and possibly alumni in the future,” Coursera Asia-Pacific Managing Director Raghav Gupta said in a media briefing last week.

According to Mr. Gupta, the objective of the expansion is to provide curriculum enhancement or supplement; serve as career training; and provide upskilling opportunities not only for the group’s current students and faculty but also for its alumni.

“We now have a very strong platform to take this partnership to the next level,” Mr. Gupta said, talking about the growth of the groups behind the partnership.

According to Coursera Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Maggioncalda, iPeople is one of the universities using “Coursera for Campus” even before the pandemic.

“In 2020 to 2022, I think there had been 100,000 course enrollments and over 80,000 completions in the iPeople schools,” he said.

Within the Philippines, the record of iPeople schools is considered to be the largest adoption of the Coursera platform. The number of Coursera learners in the country is about 1.8 million with the number of new learners growing by 85% year on year.

“The size is now becoming pretty considerable and the growth rate is faster than almost any other country,” Mr. Maggioncalda said.

iPeople’s operating schools include Malayan Education System, Inc. (Mapua University); Malayan Colleges Laguna, Inc.; Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Inc.; Malayan High School of Science, Inc.; National Teachers College; University of Nueva Caceres; and Affordable Private Education Center, Inc.

“The merger opened the door … It made it affordable to Mapua and to its students to integrate all these courses from top-ranking universities all over the world and from the tech companies,” Mapua University Chief Executive Officer and President Reynaldo B. Vea said.

“It’s really something for our students because they will graduate not only with a Mapua degree but they will graduate with a certificate attesting to their skills in a specific area which may be much in demand by employers,” he added.

“I think for higher education the iPeople group was up by more than 40% versus the pre-pandemic,” iPeople President Alfredo I. Ayala said about the number of enrollees within the group.

Mr. Ayala said that the partnership “has touched hundreds of thousands of lives already,” adding that the rest “is yet to come, there’s a lot more coming.”

The Ayala and Coursera team said that it seeks to further expand the partnership to be able to directly connect students to the industry next year.

Mr. Gupta said the team is moving towards connecting students to jobs in the industry “possibly next year.”

“This is the next big step in terms of this partnership,” he said.

iPeople is a listed holding firm under the Yuchengco group. It merged on May 2, 2019 with AC Education, Inc., the education arm of Ayala Corp., with iPeople as the surviving entity. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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