REAFFIRMING their commitment to respond to the ever-changing higher education landscape in the Philippines, the Joint Development of Niche Programmes launched the First UK–Philippine Transnational Education Conference with the British Council, the British Embassy Manila and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched).

The launching prove to be another milestone for the Philippine higher education as it opens opportunities for students as well as faculty members who wish to pursue further studies in a more practical yet equally competitive way.

Marianne Joy Vital, Ched’s Programme Director for the K to 12 Transition Project, said these are the fruits of the partnership with the British Council and the collaboration of the different institutions, in line with the commitment of working together to promote high quality international higher education in the country.

In 2016, the British Council and Ched signed a partnership agreement that aims to provide Filipino students access to UK postgraduate programs by the academic year 2018.

"The UK recognizes the Philippines is a country with huge potential, with a young, ambitious population that wants to seize the opportunities of the global economy. The UK is committed to a long term partnership in education that helps them to realize their dreams,” said Nigel Boud, British Embassy Manila’s Deputy Head of Mission.

The UK offers many opportunities for Filipinos in education like scholarship grants for post graduate studies through the Chevening Scholarships and Newton Agham Programme.

"We want to provide wider options for Filipinos and help modernize the Philippine higher education institutions. Through transnational education, Filipinos can gain world class British degree without leaving the country just like in other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore,” Boud added.

The Joint Development of Niche Programmes (JDNP) through the Philippine–UK Linkages provides capacity and funding support for 10 selected Philippine higher education institutions to develop and implement niche programs offered in the UK universities and tailor it to fit the Philippine context.

This program is envisioned to raise the standards of Philippine higher education through long-term collaborations with UK universities, enabling the Philippine HEIs acquire high- quality international higher education.

This, in turn, will make the Philippine universities more globally competitive, with the degrees on offer responding to national issues and challenges.

The current crop of offers mainly consists of dual, double and joint degrees with select UK universities. These degrees earned in the Philippines through the JDNP are valid in the UK and in all other countries in which the UK has degree recognition agreements.

Lotus Postrado, British Council’s head of education says that at the core of JDNP is the idea that developing niche expertise in areas will help drive economic growth in the Philippines and in the ASEAN region favorably positioning our higher education within the region.

"By bringing together the academic excellence of Philippine and UK universities to co-create postgraduate niche degrees not currently available in the country, we are making international degrees more accessible and affordable to Filipinos who, otherwise, would not be able to pay for the cost of a full study abroad degree," Postrado added.

There are currently 18 programs currently under development between ten Philippine universities and nine UK institutions one of which is the Saint Louis University and Coventry University in the U.K., which was launched recently in the city. (PR)