WMSU joins DOT-CHED StudyPH-Edutourism to spur Internationalization thru Glocalization
The Western Mindanao State University’s goal to assimilate Internationalization into its Quality Management System (QMS) has taken quite a while but has started well. It is made possible with the full support of the University President Dr. Carla A. Ochotorena and the initiatives of Director Mario A. Rojas of the External Linkages Office, the Technical Working Group, University College Deans and officials. The opportunity came when the University became active in promoting ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) to realize the mission of harmonizing educational standards and seeking continuous improvement of academic quality of universities in the ASEAN region. On-going initiatives since 2019 are being undertaken by the RESEL External Linkages (Internationalization) Office in partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP). Project SPARTA came next when the University became a recipient of data analytics R&D scholarships for students, faculty and employees in December 2021. It is timely as WMSU envisions itself as a smart University that fosters smart governance practices through data science and analytics. The project is being funded by the DAP and DOST (Department of Science and Technology). Recently the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has identified WMSU as one of the SUCs qualified to participate in a project with the Department of Tourism (DOT) named Study in the Philippines, Education Tourism (StudyPH-Edutourism). The objective of this partnership is to build the internationalization competitiveness of the Philippine Higher Education Program funded by the HEDFs. Thus to boost tourism and local economy SUCs joining in the project should be able to advocate its local tourism industry aligned with the quality higher education niche or program the schools promote. The project is expected to “Glocalize” or connect international and local industries through the initiatives of the academe and the LGUs. The project has been conceptualized under the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022 with a view to initiate the glocalization of education as stressed by the DOT “to integrate regional development efforts with the local cultural, indigenous, and heritage products and practices within a wider global context”. Because of the adverse effect of the Covid 19 pandemic innovative alliances are forged according to CHED, “to improve tourism practices, research, infrastructure and data exchange to replicate good practices and develop responsible global citizens of the future.” Moreover, project implementation was redesigned to meet the present health crisis thus, “the StudyPH Program was recalibrated so that projects can adapt to the new normal to include the academe, local government units, industry, small-medium enterprises, communities and other stakeholders” CHED emphasized. The SUCs participating in the project were further categorized according to priority themes
The SUCs participating in the project were further categorized according to priority themes:
- (CHM) Culture, Heritage, and Museums – preservation and appreciation of participants and products of Philippine civilization;
- (AFF) Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery – promotion and development of the tourism potential of economic activities; and,
- (ENR) Environment and Natural Resources – conservation and restoration of ecological systems. SUCs with proposals for the grant shall take into account three components: Core; strategic and Innovative components: Core component, comprises of activities such as: Policy research; capacity building and training that includes, but is not limited to, English Language Teaching (ELT) and/or English for a Specific Purpose (ESP); the strategic component deals with strategies in implementation e.g. enhancement of tourism products; development of Museum/Center for Local Studies and Culture; partnership development; innovative component demonstrates the SUC proponents’ creative ways In project implementation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the capabilities of the local communities. An initial training and writeshop for the StudyPH proposal has been conducted by the University External Linkages Office to get input for the proposal writing last December 2021. First, for the core component, some participants proposed offering short courses to foreign students which includes: teaching the local dialect (creole language cabacano); culinary art and the local history. Second, for a strategy in preserving and sharing the rich culture of Western Mindanao, suggestions were made to establish a museum within the campus to showcase artifacts from the pre-Hispanic and colonial periods.
Third an innovative way to ensure observance of Covid 19 health protocol is the use of mixed media in capacity buildings/trainings. Part of the trainings should be undertaken in the campus and part through virtual learning utilizing videos online in lieu of field trips. The final proposal still has to be reviewed and aligned with the University Strategic Planning to be held in January 2022. To get a better perspective of StudyPh edutourism, it is noteworthy to share some inspiring journey of SUCs that have been successful grantees of the program. Tarlac University started out as a fledgling college in the mid-20s but was able to integrate Internalization framework into its QMS. Eventually as a University it has established collaboration with Universities abroad within the QS ranking building good internal and external synergy. As an academic institution it focused more on collaborating rather than competing to expand its frontiers outside the country; investing on state of the art facilities and infrastructures, ICT and SIS. The University continued collaborating online international learning (COIL) to capacitate its faculty and students towards the IZN (internationalization) framework. Following the approval of its project proposals for Edutourism initiative of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the University of Antique (UA) organized the presentation of the CHED-UA Study.PH Program which was graced by CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III at the paghiUsA Hall, February 28 2021. The University was among the 17 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the country identified as grantees of the CHED’s program in which the proposals promote culture preservation, economic tourism, and environmental conservation. As a response to these components, UA came up with two Edutourism programs; Juan-A-Go Tourism Program and Sipal eskUelA: A Tertiary Sports Tourism Project. Indeed, the pathways to success are countless and may blur our vision towards pursuing a good priority for the University. But internationalization is one road that any SUC should invest well as an essential component of its QMS in its effort towards collaborative education and continual improvement. (Dr. Lea E. Usman/WMSU-PAO)