Australia, Philippines partner to enhance quality of education in southern Philippines
Australian and Philippine universities are working together on research projects aimed at improving the quality of education in southern Philippines.
Twelve teachers from different Mindanao universities – Notre Dame of Marbel University, Holy Cross of Davao College, Holy Cross of Calinan, University of Mindanao (Davao), University of Mindanao (Tagum), Mindanao State University (Tawi Tawi), Western Mindanao State University and Cor Jesu College – recently completed a research scholarship program jointly delivered by the University of Newcastle in Australia and the University of Mindanao. The program produced twelve (12) research projects on Mindanao-related education concerns and issues.
This initiative, funded by the Australian Government, is the first collaboration between an Australian university and a Philippine university in the areas of research and faculty development. It was launched in 2010 to enhance the research capacity of the faculty of Mindanao universities and strengthen the research culture of Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) in Mindanao.
“The Australian Government is committed to support the change agenda of the Philippines by sharing Australian academic skills and expertise. We recognise the value of research in continuously improving the education sector,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said.
“This partnership between the Australian and Philippine academic institutions is an innovative way of working together to help improve the quality of education in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao.”
The teachers were granted Australia Awards scholarships to pursue Master of Educational Studies with specialisation in Educational Research (MEDStud) at the University of Newcastle in Australia for two semesters and conduct fieldwork at the University of Mindanao for one semester. The scholars’ research projects focused on Curriculum Development, Pedagogy, Teaching Strategies, Instructional Materials Development, Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Academics from both universities supervised the research projects.
Eric Rolando Natividad, a faculty member from the Western Mindanao State University, spoke on behalf of his fellow teachers and scholars: “Australia Awards scholarship has helped us in our role as educators in Mindanao. It allowed us to get a global perspective on the new practices in education and to immediately apply it locally through our research fieldwork. We are grateful to the Australian Government for giving us the opportunity to make significant contributions to the education sector of the Philippines, and we look forward to seeing the gains of our labor.”
In a graduation ceremony held at Seda Hotel in Davao City, the 12 teachers were conferred by both the University of Newcastle represented by Ms Winnie Eley, Pro Vice-Chancellor, International and Advancement and the University of Mindanao represented by Dr Guillermo P. Torres, Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustees and President. Geoff King, Counsellor for Development Cooperation of the Australian Embassy, and Assistant Director Florante Igtiben of the National Economic and Development Authority witnessed the ceremony. Four of the twelve research projects were also presented to a panel of academic experts and industry leaders from the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, and the two universities.