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USAID allots P1.6 billion for Philippines higher education

MANILA, Philippines — The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a P1.6-billion ($30 million) program that will help the Philippines’ higher education system become more globally competitive.

Launched on Tuesday, the US-Philippines Partnership for Skills, Innovation and Lifelong Learning or UPSKILL program will run for five years.

The program was first announced during President Marcos’ visit to the White House in May last year.

Under the UPSKILL program, US universities, Philippine government agencies and private sector partners will work together to strengthen higher education through faculty and staff training, improvements in the curriculum and conduct of more community outreach and technology transfer, according to the US embassy in Manila.

The program is implemented by nonprofit research institute RTI International through a consortium of US universities, including the Arizona State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, with Philippine partners such as and Philippine Business for Education.

It aims to improve Filipino graduates’ qualifications to meet the labor market’s changing needs and enhance linkages between US and Philippine universities.

“The challenges and opportunities that young people face today in the workplace make college training and education critical for their future success,” said Sara Borodin, USAID deputy assistant administrator for East Asia and the Pacific.

“Through this new USAID program, the US government reaffirms its commitment to working with our Filipino partners in transforming the higher education sector,” she added.

Commission on Higher Education executive director Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro said the partnership will enable CHED to provide Philippine colleges and universities with opportunities to further innovate in response to the country’s aspirations, particularly that of students.

National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon earlier said that a stronger higher education system would lead to a bigger pool of innovators that would benefit the economy.?

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