Representatives of nine universities in Taiwan visited the University of the Philippines on July 4, 2017 as part of the Southern Taiwan Universities Network (STUN) delegation exploring academic cooperation with Philippine counterparts.
The STUN members’ visit to UP coincided with their meeting with the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC). Present during the visit to UP were faculty members and officials of Shu-Te University (STU), I Shou University, Kaohsiung Medical University, National Kaohsiung Marine University, National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science, National University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan Shoufu University, and Tungfang Design University; and, President Jhing-Fa Wang of Tajen University.
The delegation was headed by STU Chair Professor Eing-Ming Wu, assisted by Jerry Cheng-An Chuang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines. Also present were staff members of Edu-Connect Southeast Asia Association.
UP was represented by President Danilo Concepcion,Vice President Joselito Florendo, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, UP Open University Chancellor Melinda Bandalaria, and Deputy Director Aaron Joseph Villaraza of the Office of International Linkages.
Also present were: former UP System officials Alfredo Pascual, Gisela Concepcion, and Rhodora Azanza; Professor Emeritus Grace Alfonso of UP Open University and TVUP; Prof. Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza of UP Diliman; Prof. Tammy dela Rosa of UP Manila,; and, Prof. Decibel Faustino-Eslava of UP Los Baños.
After exchanging gifts in the Board of Regents Room, the group brainstormed on areas for collaboration. These included faculty and student exchange to enable English teaching of courses and English proficiency in the STUN. Philippine universities can in turn take advantage of the STUN’s strength in science, technology, and engineering.
Alfonso talked about the joint offering of courses, combining distance and face-to-face modes.
The Philippines, according to Pascual, is a potential big market of young people for training by STUN for a new industrial revolution. The training of the latter’s teachers could also be a focus of academic cooperation, he added.
Since last year, UP officials and faculty members, in batches, were invited to Taiwan. They signed a memorandum of academic cooperation (MAC) with STUN’s key contact university, STU; as well as a joint declaration for academic networking with STU and three other STUN member universities.
Signed in April 2016, the MAC provides for the establishment of an academic matchmaking platform to integrate resources of the alliance of universities in southern Taiwan and that of Philippine state universities and colleges. Wu said during the academic visit that the parties would like cooperation based on the sharing of higher education resources and the narrowing of the skills gap necessary to pursue a new industrial revolution in the region.
President Concepcion and Vice President Florendo expressed the administration’s commitment to “build upon the legacy” of the former UP administration and STUN, which began the strong of ties and cooperation between them.
According to Villaraza, 67 UP professors have held exploratory meetings with southern Taiwan universities under this agreement of cooperation. In the school year 2016-2017, 200 UP fellows visited Taiwan, more than 20 of whom were students and 10, faculty members who decided to pursue PhD degrees in Kaohsiung, said Wu.
The partnership between UP and STU was further concretized by the offering beginning this year of an STU course, Master of Arts in Applied Arts and Design, in UP Cebu. (Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc, UP MPRO)