CHED eyes stronger academic ties with Turkey universities

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
CHED eyes stronger academic ties with Turkey universities
CHED Chairperson Popoy De Vera with Turkey Council of Higher Education President Erol Ozvar.

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education wants to forge more academic partnerships between the Philippines and Turkey as part of its efforts in the internationalization of higher education.

Speaking at the 9th Annual Eurasia Higher Education Summit on Tuesday, CHED Chairperson Popoy de Vera said that the Philippines has a “special interest” in partnering with universities in Turkey, which he described as “among the leading Muslim countries in the world.”

Citing Turkey’s support in the Bangsamoro peace process, De Vera said it was “only fitting that the Philippines and Turkey move on to sustain bilateral partnerships covering areas of mutual interest to both countries.”

De Vera attended the summit with university officials of six schools: the Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte, Mindanao State University - Naawan in Misamis Oriental, Iloilo Science and Technological University, Caraga State University in Butuan,  University of Luzon in Dagupan and Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation in Pangasinan.

Current proposals in Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution include relaxing the foreign ownership restrictions in higher education, along with public utilities and advertising.

But Cynthia Bautista, EDCOM 2 adviser and former dean of the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, said in a Senate hearing on Charter change that the the country might instead attract low-quality universities instead of prestigious universities seeking to expand their reach in the region. 

Bautista also said that the country’s challenges in doing business and addressing corruption, as well as the weak regulation of low-quality HEIs in the Philippines, are barriers to bringing in more foreign universities in the country.

De Vera said that the summit could give Philippine universities insights on ways to adapt to the emergence of borderless education.

“This summit is more than a good opportunity to engage educational institutions in Turkey and other parts of the world with the great potential of the Eurasian region,” De Vera said.

“We welcome this opportunity now … to further explore opportunities in line with the instruction of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to continuously improve our HEIs in agriculture, medicine and health allied sciences and science and technology,” De Vera said.

 Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Turkey were established in 1949.

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