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Philippine TNE: 10 universities to forge UK ties

Ten universities in the Philippines have been selected to take part in transnational education partnerships with UK counterparts through the Commission on Higher Education Development (CHED) in an initiative to boost internationalisation in the country.

University of Santo Tomas, Manila, PhilippinesThe University of Santo Tomas in Manila is among the 10 Philippine universities selected by CHED and the British Council to forge TNE partnerships with institutions in the UK. Photo: Flickr/Erick Opena.

“Before the initiative began, universities saw each other as competitors"

Ateneo de Manila University, Bicol University, Central Luzon State University, De La Salle University, Miriam College, Saint Louis University, Silliman University, University of the Philippines, University of San Carlos and University of Santo Tomas will all receive seed funding to develop joint or double postgraduate degrees or joint research leading towards research-based graduate degrees with UK partners.

The resulting programs are slated to launch in academic year 2018/19.

“They have the internal systems and processes that will ensure quality protocols, quality programs”

The project is backed by more than £1m from CHED and the British Council in the first two years, doubling the funding commitment of £500,000 when the project was announced last year.

Together with the British Council, CHED selected each of the universities to take part based on their preparedness for international partnerships.

All of the participating institutions, eight private and two public, are autonomous and “considered to be self-regulating HEIs,” Fay Lauraya of CHED told The PIE News.

“They have the internal systems and processes that will ensure quality protocols, quality programs,” she added. “What we are saying is that the UK partners are assured that the universities that have been picked to participate are quality universities.”

The UK universities taking part in the project – including the University of Liverpool, Queen Mary University of London and Cardiff Metropolitan University – were selected by the Philippine universities, following a call for interest and a meeting held in London in November.

The ten institutions have also formed Universities Philippines, a consortium that will enable them to plan collaboratively and share best practice.

The consortium will also give the group a unified voice to engage with government and industry bodies on higher education internationalisation.

“Before [the initiative began] they saw each other as competitors, they only met during sports events, there were no conversations going on in an official capacity,” Lauraya said.

“So this is the best thing that has happened, that they are talking to each other, even sharing content of how they are developing graduate programs.”

By taking part, members of the consortium have agreed to offer differentiated programs to minimise competition, even allowing their own faculty to take courses at other universities.

Priority areas for the partnerships include agriculture, meteorology, climate change, oceanography and design engineering.

In the lead-up to the launch of the graduate programs, CHED will carry out monthly ‘learning sessions’ to teach universities about how best to implement TNE programs and adhere to relevant regulations.

The consortium will attend the British Council’s Going Global conference in May 2017, during which universities will receive briefings about quality assurance systems in the UK, visit partner institutions and, in some cases, sign formal partnership agreements.

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