Armenia-based free educational program TUMO Center for Creative Technologies said it is looking to expand into the Philippines.

“We are just at the start of discussion… to build those relationships and networks, to understand what the narrative is for the country, where the need is, and if we can, hopefully, find the right partners to launch our first center in Manila,” said Chris Shahinian, TUMO’s director of development. 

TUMO is a free educational program founded in 2011 that empowers teenagers to take charge of their learning. It recently developed a new approach to promoting learning among young people by using their interest in the digital world to make links to creativity, learning, and education.   

The program is built on a hyper-personalized approach to learning where students select the skills that most interest them and then create learning paths based on those skills.  

Students get a diploma by way of an online portfolio where all their work created during the program is displayed.  

This hyper-personalization, Mr. Shahinian said in a March 28 Zoom call, “allows each student or teenager to have a personal learning path that is adapted to their pace of development and interest over time.”  

Engagement is the underlying important factor that increases learning accuracies, he told BusinessWorld 

The program teaches students additional skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and creative thinking, which are essential for success in the world.

“Kids hate to study but love to learn. Choice is super important. You need to give them enough choice for them to find their path and what they’re passionate about,” Mr. Shahiniam said.  

TUMO said it has expanded to four locations in Armenia and eight international locations, including Paris, Beirut, Moscow, Tirana, Berlin, Kyiv, and Lyon.   

There are also plans to open centers in Seoul, Tokyo, and Syndey.

TUMO’s story started off very Armenia-centric, Mr. Shahinian said. There is a need to create a program for Armenia’s youth “to make sure they have access to technical literacy and creative thinking outside of the traditional education system,” he said. As TUMO expanded globally, it found that this deficiency in Armenia was also present in many other parts of the world. 

“We aren’t saying that we can better the traditional educational system. We are complementary to it,” Mr. Shahinian said.

TUMO covers over 20 focus areas, including animation, computer programming, robotics, writing, and sustainable cities. — Patricia B. Mirasol