The competition, launched through a partnership between Facebook and TNT–the value brand of Smart Communications (Smart), aimed to develop applications in the areas of disaster preparedness and response, education, and health.
Eskwela, which bested four other finalists, is the brainchild of Patrick Ofilada, a software engineer who joined this year’s developer challenge as a one-man team. Ofilida received a cash prize, an FbStart package with benefits valued up to USD 80,000, and a trip to the Facebook SEA headquarters in Singapore where he got to see and experience the tech giant’s culture.
“I was inspired to develop this app because of my sister who is currently in first grade. She always uses my phone to play games and watch videos. This gave me the idea of developing an app that would enable kids like my sister, to take quizzes and exams in a fun, modern yet simple way,” said Ofilada.
As the winning application, Eskwela will be also added to the bookmarked sites in FreeBasics.com and will be promoted in schools to drive awareness.
Free Basics by Facebook allows users to access websites and online content on current events, education, employment, health and other local information, free of charge. The service, formerly known as Internet.org, was launched by TNT in the Philippines in 2015, marking the first time the service was made available in Southeast Asia. Also in 2015, TNT held the first run of the TNT- Free Basics Developer Challenge.
“We are committed to support local developers, and this is central to our mission to bring free, and locally relevant services to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected to the Internet. We are excited to work with Filipino developers for the TNT-Free Basics Developer Challenge, which will help more Filipinos to connect to valuable services that are designed to help them better their lives,” said Alice Wei, Strategic Product Partnerships, Southeast Asia, Facebook.
“On the second year of the TNT- Free Basics Developer Challenge, we have again seen innovative solutions from young people wanting to change the world. It is their passion and enthusiasm that fuels us to provide them with the support they need, and an avenue where they can showcase their brightest ideas,” said Miriam Choa, TNT Brand Head.
“Technology plays a critical role in improving the quality of education in the Philippines. We have always been firm believers of this, which is why our programs are geared towards providing access to education, especially in remote, underserved areas of the country. Eskwela will be a welcome complement to the educational solutions we have launched so far. We are very happy that there are young people like Patrick who have ideas that can help change the way Filipinos live and communicate,” said Ramon Isberto, Head of Smart Public Affairs.