Internationally recognized as the leading educational institution in the country, UP is the only Philippine university in the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), where membership is based on the nomination and votes of member universities. UP is also the only Philippine university in the ASEAN-European University Network, a network of universities offering comprehensive graduate degree programs. It is a founding member of and is one of only three Philippine universities in the ASEAN University Network (AUN).
The University of the Philippines lives as a nerve center for most local and foreign private and government and non-government institutions by providing the much needed academic, professional and leadership training in the undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral and even professional levels. To date, UP, being the National University, has Memoranda of Agreement or Memoranda of Understanding with about three hundred foreign academic institutions throughout the world that also play a significant role in the formation of their societies.
The Office of Institutional Linkages is a unit under the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. It is mandated to identify and explore areas of cooperation and linkages with foreign and local institutions. It promotes academic collaboration with local and foreign universities in the form of student and faculty and student exchange, joint research, exchange of publication, sponsorship of conference and other academic activities. The office is engage in the initiation, planning, implementation and monitoring of linkage activities.
The office also participates in the implementation of student exchange program with partner universities. It facilitates the application and endorsement of UP students who wishes to participate in the exchange program with local or foreign universities. Also, it provides assistance to foreign exchange students who are studying in UP under the benefit of memorandum of agreement between their home university and UP System.
Currently the Office is headed by Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and OIL Director, Prof. Rhodora V. Azanza, PhD. Below are Prof. Azanza’s views on Internationalization and the university.
“Symbiosis”/“Mutualism” and the University of the Philippines’ Enhanced and Strategic Internationalization Agenda
Internationalization is a university’s response to globalization, which is the strong and growing interdependence of countries, economies and cultures (Stromquist 2007). It is the fusion/hybridization of academic culture and pedagogy, including ethos and value systems, of universities across nations. It provides the opportunity for strengthening academic resources, while retaining the university’s distinct identity in the fast changing world. It is therefore essential for the future development of the University of the Philippines (UP) and other Philippine Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to pursue internationalization, given the rapid changes in the socio-political, economic and cultural landscapes, and the desire of universities always to be at the forefront of teaching, research and extension work.
Internationalization is being vigorously and aggressively undertaken by many universities in developed and developing countries, including those which were not as “open” before. In fact now, the most internationalized nations are the most nationalistic ones.
The ASEAN Economic Cooperation 2015/Integration 2020 aims to form an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is the transformation of 10 member countries of ASEAN into a single market and production base for the free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor. The AEC is further characterized as a highly competitive region of equitable economic development and a region fully integrated into the global economy (http://www.asean.org/communities/asean-economic-community). Philippine universities and others in the ASEAN region are being challenged today to produce graduates who can compete in the global market and undertake researches that can contribute to the growth and development of their communities. These academic activities could also enhance the reputation of their respective universities. It is then expected from UP and other Philippine HEIs to have greater mobility of faculty and students, to have international quality programs and more collaborative research and curricular activities, and to meet higher employer standards.
The 2008 Charter of the University of the Philippines (UP), mandates the national university to (1) lead in setting academic standards and initiating innovations in teaching, research, and faculty development; (2) serve as a graduate university by providing advanced studies and specialization for scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and professionals; (3) serve as a research university in various fields of expertise and specialization by conducting basic and applied research; (4) lead as a public service university b providing various forms of community, public and volunteer service; and (5) serve as a regional and global university in cooperation with international and scientific unions, network universities, scholarly and professional associations in the Asia Pacific region and around the world.
Internationalization is not new to most units of UP. Research/creative work collaboration with other universities/HEIs abroad has been done since its founding more than 100 years ago. International mobility has been generally undertaken by faculty members/staff some of whom are PhD graduates of foreign universities.
UP (and other Philippine HEIs) should strive to promote Philippine consciousness/culture and products/services, while appreciating/benefiting from those of partner universities. The relationship should be more of “symbiosis” with partners almost of equal “footing”/level or “gaining” something vital from each other; or a “mutualism” where each partner has “strength/s” to share with the other. The relationship should be assessed so that one should not become a “predator nor a “prey” to the other. For this reason, UP is developing its capabilities to be able to enter this internationalization/globalization arena well-prepared, ready for productive and beneficial partnership/engagement.
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For more on UP’s linkages with other educational and research institutions, please visit the Office of Institutional Linkages website.