Through a partnership with the British Council, the two-year programme will support twinning, joint degree programmes, dual degrees and franchise models in priority fields of study between institutions in the Philippines and the UK.
The Philippine government has dedicated £350,000 to the project, with an additional £150,000 coming from the British Council.
“By August 2018 we’re hoping to have at least five postgraduate programmes developed that can actually be offered here in the Philippines”
“By August 2018 we’re hoping to have at least five postgraduate programmes developed that can actually be offered here in the Philippines,” said Lotus Postrado, head of education at the British Council Philippines.
The scheme will support only postgraduate degrees, initially focusing on master’s level programmes.
“The Philippines education system just recently transformed into a 12-year basic education system, so the alignment, in terms of curriculum, would have gaps with the UK system if it’s undergraduate study,” she explained. “In postgraduate that wouldn’t be a problem.”
Backing provided by CHED will go towards seed funding for the projects. Ten preselected Philippine universities including University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University and De La Salle University will be allowed access to funds via proposals for TNE partnerships.
The University of Santo Tomas, Miriam College, University of San Carlos, Saint Louis University, Silliman University, Bicol University and Central Luzon State University have also been selected to participate in the scheme.
Programmes must fit into priority areas including climate change, agriculture/food security, digital innovation & creativity, and transportation studies.
“CHED has been very keen on establishing the fact that whatever the programme, it has to fit the context of the Philippines,” said Postrado.
Meanwhile, the British Council will support capacity building. “We give them a number of capacity building activities. In a way, hand holding them as they go through the TNE process.”
“We are looking at this project like a pilot to develop models that could be a platform for CHED to improve their policy environment for TNE”
The country has one of the youngest youth populations in the ASEAN community but one of the fastest population growth rates. However, the higher education enrolment rate is only 35%.
In its 2015 report Opportunities and Challenges in the Internationalisation of the Philippine Higher Education Sector, the British Council said the country’s high English proficiency level positions its universities favourably within the ASEAN region.
However, it points to “major restrictions in its constitutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks which present significant barriers to FHEIs [foreign higher education institutions] operating in the country” including limitation on ownership, immigration and visa requirements and labour laws.
“We are looking at this project like a pilot to develop models that could be a platform for CHED to improve their policy environment for TNE,” said Postrado.
“In a way, the issues as we go along the process of the TNE project are that we then get to address with CHED how to make the processes more facilitative. For TNE to be offered more easily in the Philippines.”