PLDT and its wireless unit Smart celebrated its 20th year promoting technology and innovation with the Philippines’ colleges and universities with the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP).
“We recognize how conscious today’s youth are of the world they live in. They want to have a hand in shaping their own future and that of the world’s. We hope to help them reach these goals through SWEEP,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management Team at PLDT and Smart.
By promoting a culture of innovation among schools and universities and encouraging more Filipino students to get into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM and ICT-related courses, SWEEP also aims to bring long-lasting impact to communities through technology.
SWEEP also paved the way for Innovation Generation (InnoGen), an innovation grant program for tech-savvy college and senior high school students who strive to become digital changemakers.
Team SenOptica from Talavera Senior High School in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, one of the winners from InnoGen’s latest season, shared how present and emerging technologies led them to develop their product, a wearable sensor-based assistive device for people with visual impairment.
“Their stories became the driving force behind our human-centric approach to innovation, emphasizing the importance of empathy in our work. It was in these moments that we realized that innovation is not just about technology; it’s about understanding the needs of the people we aim to serve,” said 18-year-old Angel Hannah Rayo, SenOptica Developer.
“PLDT and Smart helped us transform our idea into a real-world solution that could truly make a difference in people’s lives, especially for people with visual impairment,” she added.
22-year-old Prince Ramirez of Wesleyan University Philippines also shared how PLDT, and Smart enabled them to develop TARALIBOT to bring long-lasting impact.
“TARALIBOT aims to empower local and indigenous merchants, who often lack marketing resources, by giving them an online platform and helping them reach a larger audience to bridge this gap. We hope to bring change where local business are given equal opportunities to thrive in the digital economy,” said Prince.
Through the years, the PLDT Group has underscored the value of inclusive learning and industry-academe linkages like SWEEP, particularly to promote STEM education in the country. This commitment also supports UNSDG #4: Quality Education and is aligned with the vision of the Philippine Government-mandated Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC). As one of the founding members under the Digital Infrastructure pillar of PSAC, PLDT aims to help narrow the digital divide by creating more STEM experts and upskilling more Filipinos toward jobs of the future.