Jan 06, 2021

The ability to offer international courses and programs with niche proficiencies provide higher education institutions (HEIs) many benefits. The advantages for students and faculty are almost immediately evident. Surely many students and young faculty would seize the opportunity for study, research, and academic interaction at world-class levels.

Less commonly considered from these partnerships and collaborative programs are the resulting optics on an institutional level, the kind elective officials would beg to have on a campaign. An educational institution that has built a reputation for expertise in a specific area lends that prestige to a partner institution.

A Philippine HEI carrying programs through internationalization efforts flashes a brand that spells innovation, foresight and global competitiveness. Pursuing internationalization reflects an institution’s desire to be part of the international academic community and promote inter-university collaboration.

Take for example, the University of the Philippines’ joint and dual degree programs in cooperation with international institutions. The Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology of UP Diliman (UP IESM) and the University of Reading (UoR) in Berkshire, England, offer a dual degree Ph.D. by Research in Meteorology.

UP Los Baños also offers a dual degree Ph.D. by Research with UoR in Agricultural Economics, Agriculture, Development Communications and Economics. Agronomy, Animal Science, and Horticulture have also been recently approved for the dual program.

The Dual Ph.D. by Research program is the first of its kind in the UP system. This modality may also be implemented with Curtin University in Australia and UP Mindanao, as well as with other universities that will partner with UPLB.

Filipinos will have access to niche courses in the UK and with other partner universities through the Joint Development of Niche Programs under the Commission on Higher Education and the British Council. UP is currently one of ten HEIs benefiting from the program.

Another joint program offered by UPLB is the MS in Food Security and Climate Change under the University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources. It is funded by the European Commission’s ERASMUS + Capacity Building for Higher Education and offered with Kasetsart University in Thailand, Universiti Putra Malaysia, and Institut Pertanian Bogor and Universitas Gajah Mada in Indonesia.

UPLB also hosts the Nagoya University Asian Satellite Campus, becoming the only Philippine HEI to do so. The partnership offers the Transnational Doctoral Programs for Leading Professionals in Asian Countries, with courses in International Development and Bioagricultural Sciences.

While initial dual programs seem limited to niche courses, specializations will eventually expand as more HEIs respond to the need for internationalization.

Building a quality education through international relationships reinforces an HEI’s positive image, one based on the reality that the new generation must become productive world citizens.

The University of the Philippines is a member of the ANTENA Project, a capacity building cooperation project co-funded by the Erasmus + program of the European Commission. The HEI partners include the 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, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, and the Commission on Higher Education.