SEARCA and ITEA discuss partnership opportunities on education, training, and innovation

  • By Zara Mae Estareja
  • 12 April 2024

Mr. Benjamin Leong, deputy managing director of the International Department of the International Cultural Communication Center Malaysia (ICCCM), visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 20 March 2024 to introduce the International Transnational Education Association (ITEA) and discuss potential areas of collaboration.

SEARCA and ITEA discuss partnership opportunities on education, training, and innovation

ICCCM serves as secretariat to ITEA, a non-profit organization that promotes and fosters synergy among institutions and individuals involved in transnational education. With a global network of members, it aims to enhance the quality and accessibility of educational opportunities across borders.

During the meeting, Mr. Leong learned about SEARCA's mandate and offerings while sharing ITEA's notable undertakings, such as advocacy for transnational education standards, professional development and training programs, global education partnerships, networking events and conferences, and scholarship opportunities.

"There are a lot of similarities between SEARCA and ITEA, and I think we can plan and implement several projects together," said Mr. Leong. He proposed several collaborative projects, including joint conferences, professional development and training, and innovation initiatives.

SEARCA and ITEA discuss partnership opportunities on education, training, and innovation

One low-hanging fruit identified by Mr. Sonny Pasiona, a program specialist from the Training for Development Unit, Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD), is partnering on an upcoming SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) webinar on artificial intelligence, wherein ITEA can contribute an expert as a resource speaker. In return, SEARCA can provide experts for future ITEA events covering topics, such as agriculture, climate change, and gender. Additionally, Mr. Pasiona recommended jointly developing a training program tailored for higher education institutions.

Ms. Sharon Malaiba, head of the Partnerships Unit (PU), shared that SEARCA can facilitate connecting ITEA with the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC), a network of esteemed universities in Southeast Asia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan.

With regard to the potential joint innovation initiative, Ms. Malaiba suggested co-organizing a robotics competition.

SEARCA and ITEA agreed to draft a memorandum of understanding to formalize their collaboration.

Mr. Leong was received by SEARCA Center Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio; Dr. Nur; Ms. Malaiba; Ms. Zacyl Jalotjot, a program specialist of Graduate Scholarship and Institutional Development Unit, ECLD; and key PU staff.