LONDON – “Expanding collaboration between universities in the Philippines and United Kingdom is a key strategy for the internationalization of higher education and competitiveness.”

This was the statement given by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero E. de Vera III during the select ministers meeting organized by United Kingdom (UK) Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore at the British Parliament today at the sidelines of the Education World Forum (EWF) 2019 in London, England.

The EWF 2019 was attended by close to 100 ministers from different countries and tackled various education issues. The special meeting led by UK Minister of State Skidmore was attended by Chairman de Vera and ministers of Vietnam, Cuba, Mexico, Malaysia and Azerbajian.

United Kingdom Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore (sixth from left) met with select education ministers from
(starting third from left) Azerbaijan Jayhun Bayramov, Philippines J. Prospero E. de Vera III, Cuba Jose Loidi, Vietnam Xuan Nha Phung
and Mexico Esteban Barragan at the British Parliament today during the sidelines of the Education World Forum (EWF) 2019 in London, England. 

The ministers discussed education issues in their countries and how collaboration can facilitate the resolution of these issues.

Vietnam Minister of Education Xuan Nha Phung highlighted his country’s strategy of sending close to 17,000 students to foreign universities, including UK universities as a centerpiece program of their internationalization efforts.

The ministers of education of Mexico and Malaysia shared the challenges of education reform in countries with newly- elected leaders and the urgency to show results.
Mexico Minister of Education Esteban Barragan called attention to the need for innovative approaches in ensuring access to difficult to reach and disadvantaged groups.

According to Chairman de Vera, RP-UK collaboration has been on an upswing the past years. The Chevening scholarship program has expanded and provided support to 124 scholars over the past five (5) years.

The Chevening scholarship program has produced prominent alumni like Congressman Ron Salo (University College London), Ambassador of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization Manuel Teehankee (London School of Economics and Political Science), Peace Advocate Anna Tarhata Basman (Durham University), Journalist Mikaela Papa (Royal Holloway University of London), and University of the Philippines’ President Danilo Concepcion (Queen Mary University of London).

Through the facilitation of CHED since 2016, ten (10) Philippine universities like UP, Ateneo De Manila University, Bicol University, Central Luzon State University and Saint Louis University partnered with seven (7) top UK universities led by Queen Mary University of London, University of Liverpool, and Coventry University to develop and offer Joint Masters and PhD programs on data science, food systems, meteorology, food security, disaster risk and reduction, among others.

These programs allow Filipinos to earn a joint/dual PHL and UK degree at half the cost of a UK education without leaving the PHL. Thirty-three (33) Filipino scholars are now enjoying its benefits.

CHED is also collaborating with the British Council to help Filipino faculty members get their postgraduate studies in health and life sciences, environmental resilience, energy security, agri-tech and digital innovation, and creativity through the UK Newton Fund Programme.

The collaboration efforts have expanded from scholarships to joint degree programs and research between universities in the two countries. RP-UK educational collaboration will now expand to adult education, promoting English proficiency and open distance learning to make sure that the Duterte administration’s promise of sustainable human development is achieved.

Commission on Higher Education