Education –
PH airports waves terminal fees for students

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued a memorandum on July 26, 2019, directing all airports to exempt students from paying terminal fee.

Filipino students from nursery to college, including those enrolled in Trade, Arts, and technical vocational schools are indicated in the said memorandum.

However, those enrolled in dancing, driving schools, culinary arts, and seminar-type short term courses, and students taking up Medicine, Law, masters and doctorate degrees, could not avail of this privilege.

For those who have already paid the terminal fee at point of sale of an airline ticket, they can seek a refund at Malasakit Centers (Malasakit Help Desks) located inside the airport.

Students must fill up the application form for Student Exemption Certificate. A photocopy of a student ID or current school registration card will also be required. (Filane Mikee Cervantes, PNA)

DOTr, TESDA launch ‘Tsuper Iskolar’ in Metro Manila

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) launched on June 28, 2019, the “Tsuper Iskolar” program to provide scholarships and livelihood training to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers in Metro Manila.

‘TSUPER ISKOLAR’. DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and TESDA Director General Isidro Lapena pose with “Tsuper Iskolar” beneficiaries during the launch of the program in Muntinlupa City on June 28, 2019. About 5,075 “Tsuper Iskolars”, including 25,000 families, are beneficiaries of the program. (Photo courtesy of Department of Transportation)

“Tsuper Iskolar” provides beneficiaries and their families with free skills training, skills assessment, and entrepreneurship training through courses offered by TESDA.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the initiative aims to improve the livelihood of public transport drivers in line with the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

“This program will provide further skills training to improve your livelihood as a driver. There is a program on how to become a mechanic, particularly how to maintain your vehicles. The transport cooperatives will be provided management and bookkeeping courses,” Tugade told the program’s beneficiaries in his address during its launch in Muntinlupa City.

During the event, scholarship grants were provided to drivers, operators and stakeholders from 179 transport cooperatives in Metro Manila.

Beneficiaries were likewise provided with food and transportation allowance worth PHP350 a day for 35 days of training.

Currently, 5,075 “Tsuper Iskolars”, including 25,000 families, benefit from the program.

“Tsuper Iskolar” was launched in April pursuant to a memorandum of agreement signed by the DOTr and TESDA in December 2018 under the PUVMP Stakeholder Support Mechanism Component.

The program will be rolling out across the country with its next launch scheduled in Cebu on July 5. (Aerol John Pateña, PNA)

International School in Spain to raise Pinoys’ status in Europe

Filipino professionals who choose to work in Europe to improve their families’ living conditions often end up taking dirty, dangerous and low-paying jobs.

While most of them are able to physically adjust to the demands of their jobs, many among them still miss the intellectual rewards they can only get from practicing their professions.

“Of course, each Filipino has his or her own story for taking such jobs as a cook, utility personnel or kasambahay (housekeeper). But, since they are college graduates, you will still hear them saying: ‘Minsan nakakabobo na ang ginagawa namin sa araw-araw (Sometimes, we long for tasks that require thinking),” Liz Soliday Naui, president of International School of Applied Social Sciences, told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

Filipinos in Europe

Naui said apart from the fact that Filipinos are willing to take low-paying jobs, the European community somehow limits the opportunities for employment and development for them.

“The Philippine diploma is not recognized by the European educational system, so, even if you graduate from a four-year course in the Philippines, your academic credentials would only be equivalent to first year or second year college,” she said, adding that the European Credit Transfer System measures number of hours of study and not in units per subject.

Under the European educational system, diplomas are not considered college degrees but “proofs of continuing education” and students are treated as “life-long learners”.

Naui added European employers prefer job applicants who speak their language over those who are English-speaking only.

“According to data, there are over 25,000 Filipinos in Barcelona, Gerona, Ibiza, including Filipinos with the irregular position. And most of these Filipinos land jobs in restaurants, residences, or hospitals and they don’t get to do office work,” she said.

International School for Applied Social Sciences

With the betterment and welfare of Filipino migrants in mind, Naui established International School for Applied Social Sciences (ISASS), the first Filipino international school in Barcelona, Spain.

“The Filipinos there cannot showcase what they can really do as professionals, and this is what motivated me to establish the international school. Naisip ko, pababayaan ko na lang ba sila na magtrabaho bilang kasambahay lang hanggang sa tumanda sila, pwede pa sila makakuha ng mas magandang trabaho (I thought to myself, will I allow them to work as housekeepers until they are old, they can still get better jobs),” she said.

ISASS offers diploma and degree courses in partnership with different educational institutions in Europe and Asia through a problem-based curriculum and blended learning strategy.

“Blended means 60 percent online and 40 percent face-to-face learning. So, every four to six weeks, students meet their professors but all materials for discussion are online. Saka mayroon din silang ipapasa (They also need to submit a) research paper before they can complete the diploma course,” Naui said.

ISASS started its operation in February in partnership with the Barcelona School for Applied Science, a non-profit organization, the University Institute for International and European Studies (UNIES) based in the Netherlands, and the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation, a resource hub for small and medium enterprises with the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries.

“Those who enroll with us can take International Studies, International Business Management and International Service Management. Each course must be completed in six months, and each course is equivalent to 60 European credits or 1,500 learning hours,” Naui said.

She said any Filipino who is 18 years old and above can take any of the courses “as long as they are already in Europe”.

“We don’t offer this to Filipinos in the Philippines who want to be in Europe to study primarily because we don’t offer student visas,” she said, adding that ISASS also accepts other nationalities for enrollment.

Bridging the gap

Stressing that ISASS aims to provide a motivation for overseas Filipino workers in Europe to pursue a better career, Naui said she advised their learners to take language proficiency as well

“It’s presumptuous to say that finishing our courses will make them qualified for office work, so I often tell them that they should not be reliant on our courses only. They should study the language as well because employers are very particular with Spanish-speaking or French-speaking applicants,” she said.

“By being more involved in community affairs, having more awareness and hoping that they’ll pursue more concrete formation or degree, we want to help the Filipinos here to transition from being house helpers to someone with higher position or to become entrepreneurs,” she added.

Naui earned her doctorate degree (magna cum laude) in Information and Communication from University de Nice Sophia Antipolis in Nice, France. She has years of experience as a professor and prides herself for being a perpetual student.

Her pioneering effort in bringing education to the underprivileged members of the Barcelona community and now internationally paved the way to the formal creation of Barcelona Center for Applied Sciences and ISASS. (Ma. Teresa Montemayor, Philippine News Agency)

Road to better lives: Skills training for out-of-school Pinoys

An advocacy group in the Philippines is setting skills training that may lead to employment for Filipino youths who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), a non-profit private organization, recently announced it is providing opportunities for Filipino youths when it signed five agreements with schools and organizations to provide at least 370 slots of technical-vocational education for Filipino NEETs.

PBEd said it signed partnerships with Miriam College, the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punlaan School, and three Cebu-based organizations: Primary Structures Corp., School of Knowledge, Industrial Labor, Leadership and Service (SKILLS), and the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise.

Under the agreements, Youthworks PH, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and partner schools and organizations will hold skills training programs in Manila and Cebu to the youth, especially those who are classified NEET, leading to employment.

PBEd said Punlaan School will open its doors to train at least 40 women in hospitality and culinary courses.

Miriam College will develop an Alternative Learning System Senior High School diploma in partnership with a leading construction company for training and employment.

Cagayan de Oro Chamber member companies will participate in the project’s work-based training program while Cebu-based organizations will support 330 youth in engineering technology and construction-related skills.

Launched in 2018, YouthWorks PH is PBEd’s five-year PHP1.7-billion workforce development project in partnership with the USAID. It will run until 2023.

It aims to make education and training more responsive to the needs of the economy by working with the government, industry and academe.

“Education must adequately prepare people for the 21st century workplace. Workforce development challenges, while global in nature, also have local nuances that require local solutions, and industry-academe-government collaboration is a key success factor in working global models of workforce development programs,” Brian Levey, director of the USAID Office of Education, said.

Karol Mark Yee, YouthWorks PH chief of party, said the partnerships show that the academe and industries can work together in developing the country’s workforce.

“Improving the state of our education is a task that is no longer exclusive to government and academic institutions, and workforce development is not the sole responsibility of the business sector,” he added.

The project will begin its recruitment drives in April nationwide, starting with Cagayan de Oro City.

There will be outreach programs and career caravans in the Greater Manila Area, Zamboanga City, Cebu, Iloilo, Gen. Santos City, and Davao City.

“YouthWorks PH will improve access for youth to training and employment opportunities, and engage the private sector in workforce development. Our partnership will create over 4,000 work-based training positions for youth and these positions will be complemented with classroom-based skills training and competency certification,” USAID Deputy Mission Director Patrick Wesner said. (Philippine News Agency)

UNESCO report recognizes PH proactive policies for OFWs

The Philippine government’s proactive policies for training and education of Overseas Filipino Workers was recognized in the latest 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

While the comprehensive 2019 GEM report summarizes, covering most of 195 countries in the world, that there is insufficient progress on including migrants and refugees in national education systems, the Philippines was highlighted showing how the country recognized the skills of migrants abroad and developed policies for both overseas workers and returnees.

GEM Report Director Manos Antoninis told the Philippine News Agency the report recognizes the Philippine government efforts “to prepare migrants before going to countries abroad.”

The Philippine government also engaged different countries towards recognizing the skills of OFWs, Antoninis said

“Some countries, especially in Asia, are seeing more citizens return with valuable skills. The Philippines has instated policies for returnees and linked them to recognition services and prospective employers,” the 2019 GEM Report stated.

The Philippine government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provided combined job-related and pre-departure vocational training programs for OFWs more intensive compared to other countries in the world.

The the GEM Report is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. It draws on the latest available data and evidence, and commissions extensive research from leading experts around the world.

Good pay awaits OFW teachers in China: 100K English teachers needed

Attractive employment packages await Filipino teachers in China, which needs more than hundred thousand teachers to help Chinese students learn the English language.

China currently has around 10,000 English teachers, mostly from the Philippines, according to Dr. Zhang Hang, a Chinese language teacher and researcher at the College of International Relations of Huaqiao University.

Chinese people, especially the older ones, can hardly understand, much less speak English, Zhang said.

The Philippines, Zhang said, is known for its excellent English education program, and with its proximity to China, both countries can work together for educational exchanges, especially for strengthening China-Philippines relations. (Source: Leilanie Adriano, Philippine News Agency)

Hungary offers scholarship for Filipino students, intensifies cultural exchange in PH

The Hungarian Embassy in the Philippines announced the opening of scholarship grants to Filipino students through its Stipendium Hungarian Scholarship Programme in the coming years.

Hungarian Ambassador to the Philippines József Bencze said on Monday, August 6, 2018, at the Malacañang Palace during signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Philippine News Agency (PNA) and Media Support and Asset Management Fund (MSAMF) of Hungary.

According to Amb. Bencze, 11 more Filipino students will be given a chance to study in Hungary this year “to learn in the Hungarian universities.”

“We would like it next time 35 Philippine students could go to Hungary because it is totally free,” Bencze said.

Bencze said the selected Filipino students could apply for different courses, undergraduate, masters and Doctor of Philosophy in the Hungarian universities.

“The students could choose English, German or French language,” Bencze said.

The Philippines and Hungary have signed several cooperation agreements particularly in the field of trade and commerce, science, and education.

The scholarship program is part of Hungary’s three-pillar diplomatic work that includes traditional, economic and cultural public diplomacies.

“We have a lot of cultural programs in the Philippines,” Bencze said.

A famous Hungarian dance group will perform in Manila in November, according to Bencze.

Hungary is also planning to organize a Hungarian film fest to be participated in by at least five famous Hungarian films also in November in Manila, Bencze said.

Hungary reopened its embassy in the Philippines in March last year after a lull of 21 years.

Currently, Hungary is the Philippines’ 48th trading partner while the Philippines is the fourth partner of Hungary in terms of importing vegetables and fruits, among others.

Filipina from poor family rises as new president of US university

The Utah Valley University (UVU) in the United States recently announced the appointment of Dr. Astrid Tuminez, a Filipina, as its new president.

Tuminez, who grew up in a poor community in the Philippines, was selected from a field of international and national candidates to head the publicly funded university starting on the third quarter this year.

Tuminez becomes the seventh president and first woman leader in the university’s history.

“She has proven to be a dynamic leader across academic, non-profit, public policy, and corporate sectors,” said Daniel W. Campbell, chair of the Board of Regents at UVU.

Tuminez holds degrees from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Neither of my parents went to college. My mother had a very hard life… My sister raised me. She was only 15 years old and had to raise six siblings,” Tuminez said during her acceptance speech that was broadcast in social media.

“I was raised in the slums of the Philippines and I was five years old when Catholic nuns offered me and my siblings a chance to go to school. So that changed the entire trajectory of my life,” Tuminez said.

Tuminez went on to finish high school in Manila and in 1982, she managed to travel to the United States and later acquired a US citizenship.

Tuminez earned a Master’s degree for Soviet Studies at Harvard University and a PhD for Political Science and Government at the Massachuetts Institute of Technology.

Tuminez currently holds the position of regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs at Microsoft Southeast Asia and adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore, Lee Kuwan Yew School of Public Policy.

Tuminez was voted unanimously by a 24-member selection committee at UVU and will succeed Matthew Holland, the school’s president since 2009.

“Out of an impressive field of candidates, Dr. Tuminez rose to the top in the search for the next president to lead UVU. She articulated a clear and compelling vision for UVU, and she understands the value of collaboration within Utah’s system of public colleges and universities,” said David Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education.

PH government is committed to provide quality, affordable education to all — Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently made a commitment to further empower the Filipino youth by making quality education affordable and accessible to everyone, especially the poor.

The Chief Executive stated this vow when he witnessed the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and 78 Local Universities (LUCs) to launch the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.”

“Education is the single most important legacy that we can bestow upon our youth. It opens doors for countless opportunities that will lead to their further empowerment, greater success and the realization of their individual aspirations,” President Duterte said.

“At present, millions of Filipino youth are still having a hard time finishing their studies due to poverty. Many poor students are struggling to go to school simply because they have no money for allowance, transportation, books and projects and for other miscellaneous expenses,” President Duterte said.

According to President Duterte, the signing of the MOA “is a crucial step in helping young Filipinos fulfill their dreams of becoming productive members of our country’s workforce through academic degrees and technical or vocational training.”

President Duterte also recognized the valuable efforts of Congress, CHED, TESDA, and other state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, technical vocational institutions, and other partners for making free quality tertiary education for all a reality.

Aside from broadening the access to tertiary education, President Duterte said the government would prioritize improving the quality of education in the country.

“As we bring education closer to poor students, we must also ensure that the quality of education is not compromised and that its benefits are cascaded to all,” President Duterte said.

“I therefore ask our state and local educational institutions, our esteemed teachers, administrators and everyone involved in the effective and efficient implementation of RA 10931 to do your best in fulfilling your respective mandates under this law,” President Duterte said.

President Duterte said encouraging the youth to finish their studies will keep them away from being involved in crime and illegal drugs.

“One of the reasons why I’m really so passionate in my advocacy sa drugs pati crime and criminality is my constant — our constant worry about the tomorrow of our children,” President Duterte said.

“This is why we have made it a priority to make quality education affordable and accessible to all,” President Duterte said.

According to CHED officer-in-charge Prospero de Vera, more than 800,000 students did not pay their tuition in June 2017 while close to 1.3 million students will not pay tuition and miscellaneous fees this year.

Out of the 1.3 million students, 300,000 students from the 4Ps program will be given additional subsidy by the government.

On August 3, 2017, President Duterte, signed into law RA 10931, specifically strengthening and mandating the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFast), an agency created under Republic Act No. 10687, to implement all the identified programs stated in RA. No. 10931.

This program and the student loan program under RA. 10931 are expected to aid around 1.3 million students with an at least P50 billion allocation budget.

Students in state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges and technical-vocational schools will be exempted from paying tuition fees and miscellaneous fees. Honoraria of trainers in tech-voc schools are also waived.

In photo: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte witnesses the presentation of the pledge of commitment signed by the Presidents from the 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) and 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs) presented by Philippine of Association of State Universities and Colleges President Dr. Tirso Ronquillo and Association of Local Community Colleges and Universities President Dr. Elena Presnedi during the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and state and local universities and colleges at the Malacañan Palace on June 13, 2018. Joining the President is Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

8,994 students qualifies for DOST scholarship

Nearly 9, 000 Filipinos will benefit from the Department of Science and Technology — Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) scholarship stamp for college education.

DOST said 8, 994 Filipino student qualified for its RA 7687 and Merit Scholarship programs.

Out of the total number of passers, 5,172 qualified as scholars under the RA 7687 Scholarship Program, scholarships for gifted students who belong to economically disadvantaged families; while 3,822 passed under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program.

DOST noted this year was a record-breaking time for the scholarship program as it posted the highest mark of qualified students since it stated in 1958.

The 2018 DOST-SEI Scholarships Examination, which was held on October 15, 2017 in 216 test centers nationwide, recorded the highest number of examinees with 46,434 students.

“A few years from now, these students will become key players in the country’s development,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said.

“We hope that the DOST scholarship programs can help them pursue their dreams in the S&T field of their choice,” he said