LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA, Philippines – An inception meeting among representatives of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the State Universities and Colleges-Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines (SUC-ACAP) to discuss arrangements and preparatory activities for the “Levelling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR)” project was held via Zoom on 3 December 2020.
The LevelUPHEI AFAR is a project under the International Continuing Professional Education (ICPE) Program of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED). SEARCA will implement the project with the 74 members of the SUC-ACAP as beneficiaries. It aims to address the challenges of internationalization and opportunities for levelling up Philippine higher education institutions in agriculture, forestry, and natural resources towards enhanced relevance and competitiveness in the 21st century. It also hopes to link the SUC-ACAP with the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC), wherein SEARCA serves as Secretariat, and establish academic exchanges and collaborations between these two associations and their members.
Present during the meeting to represent SEARCA were Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Program Head, Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD); Dr. Nova A. Ramos and Ms. Jean Rebecca D. Labios, Unit Head and Program Specialist, respectively, of the ECLD-Training for Development (T4D) Unit; and Ms. Paula Grace M. Muyco, Program Specialist, ECLD-Graduate Scholarship and Institutional Development (GSID) Unit. SUC-ACAP was represented by Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin, President, Visayas State University (VSU), who currently serves as SUC-ACAP President. He was assisted by Dr. Suzette B. Lina, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture and Food Science, VSU.
Discussed during the meeting were the establishment of the criteria and guidelines for selection of grantee-participants and the customization of training topics for the short-term training programs that will be based on the results of the training needs assessment that VSU will be spearheading for all SUC-ACAP members.
On 24-25 November 2020, the project was presented during the 33rd UC Executive Board Meeting, where SUC-ACAP was invited to participate. The draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SUC-ACAP and the UC was approved during the meeting. The 74 SUC-ACAP member institutions have already signed the resolution regarding the project.