The COMPETEN-SEA project is a Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) project funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission.The main objective of the COMPETEN-SEA project is to enable best South-East Asian Universities to develop a new kind of accessible, affordable, high quality and effective educational services to various groups of population now excluded from traditional educational outreach. The MOOC technology was chosen as the tool most promising and suitable for the region with its particular characteristics (growing population dispersed across thousands islands and separated by thousands of kilometres, extremely high growth of ICT penetration enabling modern ICT-based education, world-class academic staff in best local Universities, etc.). The first attempts to develop local MOOCs (e.g., by UNSRAT) confirm the demand and impact, as well as the challenge. The European capacities, technologies and experiences can and shall help to meet those technological and pedagogical challenges faced by local Universities.

The project’s capacity building efforts will include activities aimed at training local University pedagogical and technical staff to design, develop and deliver MOOC-based educational interventions. Additionally, it will reinforce the developed capacities and demonstrate the impact via the pilot development and validation of local MOOCs for several underprivileged target groups.

The choice of MOOC topics is country specific and allows demonstrating the diversity of educational techniques and contexts:

1. Empowering single mothers, Malaysia

Single mothers are a part of the population that is in danger of falling out of the society. A single mother is a woman solely responsible for raising her children and managing the family. Because of that, single mothers face great difficulties entering or reentering the workforce and have mobility issues in seeking to re-skill or re-educate themselves. An educational programme, as envisioned by COMPETEN-SEA, would allow single mothers to get access to tailored education and skill development staying time and location independent.

2. Fostering entrepreneurship in remote rural areas, Indonesia

In Indonesia a special attention needs to be given to people living in small and outer islands. Only North Sulawesi province in Indonesia has 286 islands where 59 of them are inhabited with 11 islands categorised as small and outer islands. Poverty is one of the main challenges as economic activities are encumbered due to the lack of basic infrastructure and access to health services and education. In the recent years, the Indonesian government has prioritised the national development programs targeting people in such areas.

3. Professional development for Rural Health Worker, the Philippines

The Philippines are one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. In 2012, according to the International Disaster Database, Philippines ranked third by the number of reported disasters. Therefore, the Philippines government made it a national priority to educate rural health workers to provide prompt support in case of any disaster. This plan requires quick and massive education on demand depending on contextual conditions. The aims and objectives of COMPETEN-SEA could strongly support the national PeHSFP 2015 plan (Philippine Health Information System, Knowledge Management for Health) by building up the capacity to educate those rural health care workers over dedicated MOOCs.