SEARCA conducts Thailand cross-visit for PH HEIs

At least 14 Philippine higher education institutions (HEI) represented by 21 administrators and senior and junior faculty members joined a cross-visit to Kasetsart University (KU), a leading research university in Thailand, in early December 2022.

The Cross-Visits to Higher Education Institutions in Seameo Member Countries-Thailand is one of the components of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHEd)-funded project on Leveling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) implemented by Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

Seameo stands for Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, a regional intergovernmental organization established in 1965 among the governments of Southeast Asian countries to promote regional cooperation in education, science and culture.

SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio explained that the project primarily 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 through Short-term Training Programs and Cross-Visits, and participation in University Consortium activities.

Gregorio said the cross-visit which was organized in partnership with the KU International Affairs Division specifically aims to provide participants with firsthand experiences in improving their pedagogical skills, equip them to think laterally to develop innovative and entrepreneurial strategies, and learn from "model universities" best practices in terms of governance structure and quality assurance systems.

According to Gregorio, the Thailand cross-visit participants drew insights, learned from, and gathered some of the best practices in terms of governance, quality management system, research and development, and extension as well as strengthening academe-industry-government cooperation and interaction in KU during their visit.

He said the participants observed how KU, also the first agricultural university in Thailand, strengthened its education policy, teaching, and learning through the conduct of cutting-edge research in rice, vegetable, and fruit production and marketing, development of state-of-the-art farming practices, production of high protein food supplements, to name a few, which significantly contributed to the growth of the country's agricultural and rural sector.

Gregorio said the group noted that KU has taken a proactive stance by providing the enabling environment that produces graduates with the abilities and skills needed for employment and citizenship, promotes research, and at the same time build a collaborative relationship and sustainable partnerships with the government, researchers, the industry, civil society and development partners.