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Philippines, Chinese universities sign 10 partnership agreements

Michael Punongbayan, Elizabeth Marcelo – The Philippine Star

September 10, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine and Chinese universities and colleges have signed at least 10 new partnership agreements in Guiyang, China boosting educational opportunities for both nations especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Agriculture and Mathematics education.

The partnership agreements were signed during the Philippines-China University President Cooperation Dialogue, which was part of the 2023 China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week.

The event gathered representatives from 13 Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs), including the University of the Philippines (UP), and six Chinese HEIs as well as officials from the Commission on Higher Education, Philippine embassy in Beijing and Philippine consulate general in Chongqing and the Guizhou Provincial Education Department.

About 10 bilateral partnership agreements were signed during the event, particularly between Bohol Island State University and Guiyang Institute of Humanities and Technology; Mabalacat City College and Shijiazhuang Institute of Railway Technology; Isabela State University and Guizhou Minzu University; Jose Rizal University and Guiyang Institute of Humanities and Technology; Mariano Marcos State University and Center of International Education of Guangzhou Xinhua University (GXU); Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas and Deyang Vocational College of Technology and Trade; University of Perpetual Help System DALTA and Center of International Education of GXU; University of Antique and Guizhou Vocational College of Foodstuff and Technology; World Citi Colleges and Guiyang Institute of Humanities and Technology; UP and Guiyang Institute of Humanities and Technology.

Other HEIs that were part of the Philippine delegation were the UP Open University, University of the Cordilleras and La Consolacion University.

“International collaboration is the key aspect of our approach to higher education. By collaborating with overseas partners, HEIs can enhance the quality of education, expose students to diverse perspectives and equip them with skills necessary to thrive in a globalized society,” Commission on Higher Education Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said.

For UP president Angelo Jimenez, centuries-old commercial ties and cooperative linkages over 48 years of diplomatic relations have established both the foundations and future directions of Philippines-China cooperation.

“Ultimately, we must weigh our decisions according to one metric: how these will concretely improve the lives of individuals, families and communities. Education is meant to serve people, to make lives better, to save our environment and to promote peace, prosperity and social responsibility,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul Daza yesterday contradicted Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s pronouncement that the free college education program must be reviewed, saying the law providing it is “not defective.”

According to Daza, “the problem is not on the law on free tertiary education itself,” in reference to Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

Daza noted that “priority treatment for the poor will ‘cure’ the inherent ‘discrimination’ in entrance exams in state colleges and universities (SUCs) where graduates from private schools naturally score higher in entrance exams.”

“We keep on zeroing in on the law. That’s not the problem. The law in itself is direly needed and we thank the Duterte administration again for making it a reality,” he added.

The lawmaker said what is needed is to ensure that those who “genuinely qualify for free tertiary education, particularly the poorest, are really the ones benefiting from it.”

“It’s about time that SUCs ensure that more of the under-represented groups like children of families in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, indigenous groups, rebel returnees and other marginalized groups are given priority treatment,” he added.

Daza also proposed inclusion of “children who will be the first in the family who will be able to get a college degree.” — Sheila Crisostomo

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