The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the British Council hosted a forum yesterday entitled Joint Development of Niche Programs through Philippine – United Kingdom Linkage. Bringing together officials from the CHED, the British Council, and select higher education institutions (HEIs), the forum officially launched the effort between the Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK) to jointly develop niche programs in specializations that remain unavailable locally.
The event brought together officials from public and private colleges and universities, among them: Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of San Carlos, St. Mary’s University of Bayombong, Holy Angel University, Notre Dame of Marbel University, Miriam College, Technological Institute of the Philippines, University of Southern Mindanao, Bicol University, University of Southern Philippines, Visayas State University, Cavite State University, Benguet State University, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Central Luzon State University.
The CHED and the British Council earlier signed a partnership that targets the development of at least ten niche programs identified as lacking in the country, despite being critical in supporting regional and national development, among them: transportation studies, design engineering, tropical medicine and public health, data science, and renewable energy studies.
“It is clear to us in CHED that if we are to leapfrog, we cannot just look inward as indeed, there is much to learn from the experience of our peers,” said Dr. Patricia Licuanan, CHED Chairperson. Thus, “apart from local opportunities, it is critical to also invest in building our capacity in emerging fields by investing in sending our best faculty members abroad, and, in parallel to investing in said faculty, that we invest in the upgrading of our institutions so that they become a nurturing academic environment for our learners,” she continued.
The discussions presented global trends, the role of transnational education in the era of globalization, and best practices in developing joint programs. Following the discussions led by experts from the United Kingdom and representatives from CHED, the schools were divided into groups to brainstorm ways to move forward.
“Our hope is that we in CHED, our HEI partners, and the British Council, continue to work more collaboratively to make sure that we succeed with our pilot initiatives, so that we can learn from this experience as we continuously iterate and refine our policies as well as our implementation of efforts in internationalization. And, through this, see through during the K to 12 Transition, a better higher education system, in a way that leverages this period and our strengths to benefit more Filipino youth,” said Karol Mark Yee, CHED K to 12 Transition Program Director.
The K to 12 Transition Program is a five-year effort aimed at the strategic development of HEIs and personnel during the transition period from 2016 to 2021. The Program includes a range of programs to support faculty and staff through scholarships for master’s and doctoral programs, locally and abroad, non-degree programs, as well as institutional grants for HEIs.