Sep 15, 2020 The global COVID-19 pandemic will stir up and enliven the current strategic internationalization plans and efforts of Philippine higher education institutions. This was the view expressed by Renato G. Reyes, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of International Affairs Office at Central Luzon State University. “The current situation poses greater challenges to HEIs and SUCs planning to implement or strengthen their internationalization program, but this same situation will also offer new opportunities,” he added. Reyes noted that in the next normal or new reality, educational institutions will have to be more creative and bolder to step out of their comfort zones to achieve their current or new internationalization goals. Internationalization, he explained, are measured based on the following criteria: number of faculty scholars who completed their advanced degrees abroad, the number of academic and scientific exchanges made among international partner institutions, the number of joint research publications with international partners, and the number of student internships both inbound and outbound. Reyes underscored the need for collaboration not only in the international level but also within the University level. “In order for the wheel of internationalization to progress, every individual from top to bottom of the HEIs must internalize internationalization. As we always say, internationalization must be in every heart and mind of every stakeholder,” he said. The Central Luzon region has 209 HEIs that offer undergraduate and graduate programs. Out of 209 HEIs, 12 are state colleges and universities (SUCs). Most of these have already institutionalized their respective international affairs office. Lack of improved facilities, insufficient government financial support, slow mobility of human resources both inbound and outbound and academic mismatch of courses with foreign partner institutions, however, have encumbered their efforts towards internationalization. The country’s higher education institutions are required to maintain a global presence in accordance with the Philippine Higher Education Reform Agenda (PHERA). The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has geared towards this vision by issuing several memoranda such as the ASEAN International Mobility for Students (AIMS) Program which is based on CMO No. 11 Series of 2014, the Policy – Standard to enhance quality assurance in Philippine Higher Education through an outcomes-based and typology – based quality assurance (CMO No. 46 Series of 2012) and the CMO No. 22 Series of 2013 on student internship abroad. CLSU 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, 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, University of the Philippines, and the Commission on Higher Education.