SEARCA further facilitates capacity building activities and international linkages for Philippine higher education institutions through the Leveling Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) project funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Three faculty members are ongoing with their mobility programs in partner universities from the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC).
The LevelUPHEI AFAR project aims to upgrade the institutional capacities of the State Universities and Colleges – Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines, Inc. (SUC-ACAP, Inc.) and its 75 members. Faculty and staff members from SUC-ACAP may participate in activities organized by the UC and its member institutions as part of the project.
Dr. Analyn L. Codilan, Associate Professor at the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and Mr. Noe S. Mamon, Jr., Assistant Professor II, Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Southern Mindanao (USM), are currently in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for their one-month UC mobility program. The one-month mobility aims to conduct benchmarking activities, and discuss collaborative programs in research, extension, or other curricular activities between the project grantee's home institution and the UC member. Asst. Prof. Mamon is assigned to the Faculty of Agriculture with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zulkefly Sulaiman as host lecturer. Dr. Codilan is with the Faculty of Forestry and Environment with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamziah Abd Kudus and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Norizah Kamarudin as host lecturers. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamziah is also an alumna of the SEARCA Scholarship program.
In the first week of his mobility, Asst. Prof. Mamon visited the International Rubber Research Development Board (IRRDB) in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, and met with Dr. Abdul Aziz S.A. Kadir, Director-General of IRRDB, and the board members. His mobility activities are in line with the ongoing rubber research endeavor of UPM, specifically on rubber micropropagation and production. In the coming weeks, UPM arranged for Asst. Prof. Mamon to visit the rubber plantation, nursery, and rubber-related projects in Alor Gajah, Melaka. His mobility relates to USM's goal of becoming globally competitive in terms of instruction, research, and development. The mobility program will also create linkages for future collaboration on research and development programs that will hopefully support the rubber-producing provinces/regions and revitalize the rubber production system in the Philippines.
For Dr. Codilan, her mobility activities focus on benchmarking the Bachelor of Forestry Science program and postgraduate programs of UPM and identifying areas for collaboration between UPM and UPLB, specifically in program development, course offerings, virtual mobility, research studies, and faculty development. Dr. Codilan’s activities are in line with her experience as Coordinator for Instruction of CFNR in 2016, where she managed the curricular initiatives of the college for various program levels (BS, MS, PhD) and collaboration with other local and international universities. She also facilitated the completion of the revised BS Forestry curriculum in 2018 as a response to the K-12 program and Outcomes-Based Education, and co-facilitated the preparations for the 2017 ASEAN University Network - Quality Assessment. Asst. Prof. Mamon and Dr. Codilan will stay at UPM until 30 June 2022 to complete their mobility activities.
Another LevelUPHEI AFAR grantee, Mr. Ventura Chinaman, Instructor III at Nueva Vizcaya State University, is also ongoing in his mobility activities at Kasetsart University (KU) in Thailand until 31 August 2022. He will stay at KU for one semester to conduct research on the prebiotic effect of chitosan on the immune system of hybrid catfish at the Department of Aquaculture, Faculty of Fisheries, under the guidance of Asst. Prof. Dr. Prapansak Srisapoome. The research collaboration aims to strengthen NVSU’s research capacity toward developing projects that may cater to food security and environmental protection.
Besides the one-month and one-semester mobility programs of the UC, three other LevelUPHEI AFAR grantees from UPLB, Central Luzon State University (CLSU), and Visayas State University (VSU) recently finished their Summer School in Krabi, Thailand. KU co-organized the Training-Workshop on Sustainability Assessment in Agricultural Production and Food Processing from 15-25 May 2022 with L' Institut Agro of France. The Summer School is another activity conducted by UC member institutions open to SUC-ACAP members by invitation.
The LevelUPHEI AFAR project is ongoing with the preparations that will allow more faculty and staff from SUC-ACAP member institutions to conduct mobility and attend training programs hosted by any of the seven (7) UC members in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and Taiwan.