On Friday, June 24, Vancouver Community College (VCC) and the University Mobility Asia Pacific (UMAP) International Secretariat was proud to host representatives from the Republic of the Philippines Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippine Consulate General Vancouver, B.C. Council for International Education (BCCIE), leaders from 16 Philippine universities, as well as the Government of Canada’s Trade Commissioner for the Philippines at VCC’s downtown campus.
UMAP is an international association that strives to facilitate greater understanding among members of each other’s cultural, economic, and social systems through collaborative partnerships and increased mobility of higher education institution’s students and staff. VCC is currently serving a five-year term as the UMAP International Secretariat with President Ajay Patel serving as Secretary General. The goal of Friday’s event was to foster the two-way flow of students, educators, and ideas between B.C. and the Philippines and increase educational innovation in both regions.
“It was exciting to have so many colleagues from the Philippines join us in-person and learn more about the Philippine educational system,” said Jennifer Gossen, Director, International Education, VCC. “It was a great opportunity to showcase VCC as an educational institution and our learnings in Indigenous education, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. One of VCC’s strategic priorites is engaged communities and building partnerships with our colleagues in the Philippines is one way we can work towards that.”
VCC has a growing international student population, with Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, and Business Management among the most popular programs. Students from the Philippines make up sixteen per cent and four per cent of domestic and international student populations, respectively.
The event was attended by Dr. Aldrin Arenas Darilag, Commissioner, CHED Philippines; Lily Freida Macabangun-Milla, Director IV, International Affairs Staff, CHED Philippines; Maria Andrelita S. Austria, Consul General of the Philippines in Canada; Angel Cachuela, Trade Commissioner Philippines, Government of Canada; and Kate Zhang, Manager Market Support and Partnership Development, B.C. Council for International Education.
“The visit was very educational,” said Dr. Aldrin Arenas Darilag, Commissioner, CHED Philippines. “We have been studying community colleges for quite some time. I think that they are appropriate for the Philippines setting and the VCC model could be our benchmark to fully understand the essence of a community college. The Philippines is an archipelagic community, so education needs to address the specific needs of different regions. Fostering community colleges to be part of the higher education system in the Philippines will be important.”
“We appreciated the chance to connect and build stronger partnerships with our partner members in the Philippines,” added Chelsey Laird, Director, UMAP International Secretariat. “We are looking forward to working together to create opportunities for both Canadian and Filipino students through exchanges, partnerships, and virtual learning experiences.”
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