JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Australian Ambassador, DepEd Secretary visit first Philippine BRIDGE School partner in Makati
PASIG CITY, August 8, 2017 – Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones visit Makati High School, the first Philippine partner school of the Building Relationship through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (BRIDGE) School Partnerships Program.
BRIDGE is a flagship program of the Australian Government and Australia-ASEAN Council to link Australian school communities with their counterparts across the region through collaborative learning activities using digital technology.
“Education has been in the forefront of Australia’s support to the Philippines. The BRIDGE program builds friendships through education and I am pleased to launch this initiative in the Philippines with Secretary Briones,” Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely said.
Secretary Briones affirmed the long history of productive engagement between the Australian government and DepEd towards the continuous improvement of education quality and access in the Philippines. “This new program with Australia, BRIDGE, aptly characterize the Australia-DepEd relationship – it is a two-way partnership that emphasizes convergence of aspirations and commitment to mutual learning,” Secretary Briones remarked.
Makati High School is the first school in the Philippines selected for the program. Three other schools in the Philippines will become part of the network of 660 schools in Australia and across Asia linking 985 teachers and over 100,000 students.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has described the BRIDGE school partnerships as “fostering understanding and friendship between the leaders of the future.”
The program’s purpose is simple - to connect Australia teachers, students and school communities with their counterparts across Asia to deepen intercultural understanding; enhance real life digital skills; and establish a community of multi-lingual learners.
“I thank the Philippine Government for participating in the BRIDGE program. It’s a great opportunity for Australian and Filipino students to share experiences and build lifelong connections,” Ambassador Gorely added.
While visiting the school, Ambassador Gorely and Secretary Briones participated in a video link discussion with Makati High School’s counterpart St Paul’s College in Kempsey, New South Wales. Australian students asked about Philippine culture and geography, and the Filipino students learned a bit more about school in Australia and living down under.
Australia is the largest bilateral partner in education to the Philippines and will invest $21.8 million / Php856 million in 2017-18 through its two major programs: Basic Education Transformation Sector program (BEST) for the national level and Education Pathways to Peace program (PATHWAYS).