June 29, 2017
Fifteen state universities from the Philippines visited Japan recently to benchmark and learn from Japan's best practices in engineering and technology education amid the onset of the ASEAN integration.
Said international academic visit was part of the Philippine Higher Education Career System (Phil-HECS) Program of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP). The program supports the professional advancement and career management of senior executives in Philippine State Universities (SUCs) in the country.
"CHED would like to develop a broader perspective of global higher education trends by going beyond the Philippine context," said CHED Deputy Executive Director Napoleon Imperial. "What we learned from Japan is the role of industry in enhancing the curriculum and opportunities for collaboration with Japanese universities."
CHED partnered with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) in developing the program's course design and training modules including the short-term international study visits. The visits aim to expose participants to best models and styles of leadership and governance.
Through JICA's support, the Japanese experience is highlighted in this visit.
Following the visit, one of the participating State Universities is eyeing an introduction of disaster risk reduction courses in the Philippines, a first of its kind in the country considering the Philippines' vulnerability to natural disasters and availability of engineering professionals.
JICA and Japan's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) worked together in designing the universities' short term course in their study visit in Japan and linked them with relevant Japanese universities in connection with the Phil-HECS program.
"JICA hopes that the visit to Japan will help expand the global network of Philippine universities to benefit Filipino students and teachers, and open opportunities towards institutional learning and linkages programs between the Philippines and Japan," said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito.
With ASEAN integration, qualifications of select professions in the region will be aligned to allow free movement of professionals, including those from fields such as engineering, nursing, architecture, medicine to name a few.
"Our visit to Japanese universities provided us insights on how to improve engineering programs and higher education governance in the Philippines," said Dr. Dexter R. Buted, President of Pangasinan State University. "We were able to see how we can improve our curriculum and institutional directions and develop the competencies of our graduates relevant to ASEAN integration."
The participating State Universities include Western Philippines University, Tarlac State University, Caraga State University, Laguna State Polytechnic University, Partido State University, Batangas State University, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines, Pangasinan State University, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, University of Southeastern Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Mariano Marcos State University, Visayas State University, Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology, and Negros Oriental State University. Said universities visited GRIPS as well as Japan's Toyohashi University of Technology, Institute of Technologists, and Asian Productivity Organization.
To date, higher education and training was cited as among the bright spots in pushing the Philippines' global competitiveness ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Report 2016-2017.