On Thursday, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the signing of Canada’s first provincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of the Philippines.
The government said the goal is to strengthen ties between post-secondary education institutions in the two countries, while also creating more chances for research partnerships and education exchanges.
“We are proud to be the first provincial government to enter an academic partnership with the Republic of the Philippines,” Advanced Education Minister Gene Makowsky said in a press release. “This MOU will strengthen our current relationship, bring recognition to Saskatchewan on a global platform and build further opportunities for students, faculty and researchers.”
Makowsky said the MOU is a key component of Saskatchewan’s new International Education Strategy, which encourages access and collaboration between post-secondary institutions. He said strengthening these partnerships helps the province’s economic recovery and population growth goals outlined in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan.
“This agreement heralds the dynamic partnership between the Philippines and Canada in higher education,” Dr. J. Prospero E. de Vera III, Chairperson, Commission on Higher Education, Republic of the Philippines said. “Furthermore, it will pave the way for strengthening the relationship and the shared vision of the Philippines and Canada in developing global human resources.”
University of Saskatchewan president and vice-chancellor Peter Stoicheff also welcomed the news. He said the strengthened relationship would lead to an increase in mobility programs, such as student and faculty exchanges, along with the innovation and research benefits.
“Strengthening connections between our province’s higher learning institutions and international partners in the Philippines offers great mutual benefit to students and researchers,” Stoicheff said.
“Education and research are enhanced with diverse perspectives, and the collaboration between our university, established partners and the Commission on Higher Education in the Republic of the Philippines will be leveraged and furthered by this MOU.”
University of Regina president and vice-chancellor Jeff Keshen echoed those remarks. Keshen said the agreement would strengthen the U of R by bringing more worldviews and perspectives to the campus.
“The University of Regina … is committed to providing a safe, welcoming environment in which international students can learn, work and grow,” Keshen said. “We support the signing of the MOU between the Province of Saskatchewan and the Republic of the Philippines as a great opportunity to build mutually beneficial relationships with post-secondary institutions in the Philippines.”
Saskatchewan Polytechnic president and CEO Larry Rosia said the agreement paves the way for a number of important opportunities for students and faculty.
“Saskatchewan Polytechnic believes in the value of international collaboration and partnership,” Saskatchewan Polytechnic President and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia said.
“International partnerships and exchanges help students develop a wide range of skills, including problem solving, adaptability, resilience, and intercultural competency.”
“Saskatchewan Regional Colleges are pleased to acknowledge this agreement between Saskatchewan and the Philippines,” Cumberland and Parkland College President and CEO Dr. Mark Hoddenbagh added.
“Agreements such as these are beneficial for our province, given the important contributions to economic growth in rural regions provided by the Filipino community. This agreement will only serve to strengthen the relationship between the province and the Philippines resulting in mutually beneficial projects for students and institutions alike.”
The Commission on Higher Education with the Republic of the Philippines is committed to promoting equitable access and ensure quality and relevance of higher education institutions and their programs.