PH mentors conduct mobility programs in Malaysia, Thailand

A STATE university-based instructor from Nueva Vizcaya is a grantee of the Leveling Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) project funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

According to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Ventura Chinaman, an instructor at the Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU) is ongoing with his mobility activities at Kasetsart University (KU) in Thailand until August 31.

Through CHEd-funded project, SEARCA facilitates capacity-building activities and international linkages for Philippine higher education institutions (HEI).

SEARCA said Chinaman 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 Assistant Prof. Dr. Prapansak Srisapoome.

It added that the research collaboration aims to strengthen NVSU's research capacity toward developing projects that may cater to food security and environmental protection.

SEARCA explained that the project aims to upgrade the institutional capacities of the State Universities and Colleges-Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines Inc. (SUC-ACAP) and its 75 members.

Faculty and staff members from SUC-ACAP may participate in activities organized by the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) and its member-institutions as part of the project.

SEARCA said two other faculty members are also ongoing with their mobility programs in partner UC universities.

Dr. Analyn 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 Noe Mamon Jr., Assistant Professor 2, 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.

SEARCA said 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.

Mamon is assigned to the Faculty of Agriculture with Associate Prof. Dr. Zulkefly Sulaiman as host lecturer while Codilan is with the Faculty of Forestry and Environment with Associate Prof. Dr. Kamziah Abd Kudus (an alumna of the SEARCA scholarship program), and Associate Prof. Dr. Norizah Kamarudin as host lecturers.

In the first week of his mobility, 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.

Mamon's 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 Mamon to visit the rubber plantation, nursery, and rubber-related projects in Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia. His mobility relates to USM's goal of becoming globally competitive in terms of instruction, research and development.

SEARCA said 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.

Codilan's mobility activities are focused 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.

Her activities are in line with her experience as Coordinator for Instruction of CFNR in 2016 managing the curricular initiatives of the college for various program levels (BS, MS, PhD) and collaborating with other local and international universities.

Codilan 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 Association of Southeast Asian Nations University Network - Quality Assessment.

Mamon and Codilan will stay at UPM until June 30 to complete their mobility activities.

According to SEARCA, besides the one-month and one-semester mobility programs of the UC, three other LevelUPHEI AFAR grantees from UPLB, Central Luzon State University and Visayas State University recently finished their Summer School in Krabi, Thailand.

SEARCA said KU co-organized the Training-Workshop on Sustainability Assessment in Agricultural Production and Food Processing on May 15 to 25 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 UC members in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan, SEARCA added.