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As set forth in the Guidelines, “all foreign higher education providers and their local representatives/partners/franchisers and training institutions with intentions to operate programmes in the Philippines should seek permit and approval from the Commission on Higher Education.”

Academic exchanges between the Philippines and foreign universities have steadily increased over the last two decades. The Philippine Higher Education Guide (2000 and 2005) showed that most of the country’s COEs and CODs participate actively in academic mobility programmes. The majority of the students who participate in exchange programmes are in four course areas: Science and Mathematics, Business and Economics, Computer Sciences and Liberal Arts.

The entry and stay of foreign students in the Philippines is covered by Executive Order (EO) 285, dated September 4, 2000. This EO spells out the requirements for enrolment, such as the levels of accreditation for local higher education institutions. As a policy, only those institutions with Level II accreditation or its equivalent may be allowed to enroll foreign students in the country. There is also a requirement for HEIs to get permits from the Bureau of Immigration to admit foreign students in the country.

Mutual recognition of degrees and diplomas in higher education will be a priority for the country during this decade – not only because of globalization, but also to better place professionals into the global workplace. The role of education agencies is to encourage and support transparency, quality assurance and participation in negotiating for mutual recognition of degrees and qualifications in Asia and the Pacific. The role of universities and colleges is to adopt their course syllabus and resources to the demands of globalization and borderless education.

Summary of Issues and Recommendations of the Country Reports

The country presentations centered on country profiles, as well as on information about educational ladders and national qualification frameworks. Presenters shared information about the status of mutual recognition programmes, challenges encountered after having ratified the Regional Convention, international cooperation programmes, modalities and linkages they have established, and the growth of academic mobility programmes since 2000. They also discussed concerns about certain policies that limit or facilitate mutual recognition of higher education degrees. Overall, Member States recommended that UNESCO Bangkok encourage more countries to ratify the Regional Convention, convene a ministerial meeting and put in place a permanent host organization/country for the APARNET.

Member States noted that accomplishing these goals may necessitate the development of legislative frameworks, quality assurance standards, national qualification frameworks and action plans in individual countries. The seminar pointed out the need to address issues such as transnational providers, and qualifications earned through distance learning. These features should be included and covered in the proposed revision of the Asia-Pacific regional convention.

Ninth Session of the Regional Committee


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