Sep 09, 2020

As educators gear for the new school year in these “civilization-shifting” times, pursuing cross-border education seems almost beside the point. The pandemic has struck at every nerve of the educational system. The growth of academic mobility has been curtailed by travel bans, border closures and community quarantines. Yet the situation has also highlighted the relevance of internationalization in education and its far-reaching effects on national development. 

Representatives of 108 universities across the country have cited that enhanced international cooperation and increased networking among faculty and researchers were among the top benefits of internationalization. After all, opportunities for collaborative teaching and learning activities, joint research, technology transfer, the exchange of art and culture, and other academic activities cannot be ignored. 

A third benefit is strengthened institutional research and knowledge production capacity. Simply put, a higher education institution (HEIs) would be less than what it should be without high quality research and scholarly work. The possibilities of collaborative research and information exchange in finding solutions to the global health crisis, for example, heighten the need for this academic interaction.

According to the survey participants, an added benefit to having accurate and credible research outputs is the prominence it gives the HEI in the global stage. Recognition in research achievements are part of every HEI’s goal.

So, do these benefits and opportunities still exist in these days of distance learning and online classrooms? They still do, albeit with some revised methods and tactics.

 “The whys of internationalization have not changed, but the hows will require some changes as with many aspects of our daily lives,” says Dr. Gil S. Jacinto, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Office of International Linkages of the University of the Philippines.

Borderless learning experiences will be part of the new scenario and localizing or contextualizing academic programs of foreign HEIs can be explored as an alternative to travel. Access to internationally recognized study programs without leaving home can be granted through more institutional partnerships. The continuing development of the internationalization program will ultimately bring about learned and highly employable graduates, with a capacity for global competitiveness.

UP is a member of the ANTENA Project, a capacity building cooperation project co-funded by the Erasmus + program of the European Commission, led by the University of Alicante in Spain with the support of the University of Montpellier in France and the European Foundation for Management Development. Other members are Ateneo de Manila University, Benguet State University, Central Luzon State University, De La Salle University, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Saint Louis University, University of San Carlos and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan and the Commission on Higher Education.