The Philippines provides quality and affordable education that encourages creativity and independent thinking: an education experience that makes a real difference. Students are also assured of getting training from teachers with master’s and doctorate degrees in the Philippines. Graduates from the Philippines are successful in finding jobs worldwide and are readily accepted for postgraduate studies in leading international universities.
It is no wonder then that the Philippines is host to an ever increasing number of international students each year.
I. Quality Academic Instruction
The Philippine education system is largely patterned after the U.S. model. In addition to providing professional and technical programs designed to prepare individuals for employment, Philippine higher education institutions (HEI) are renowned for their liberal arts programs, such as philosophy, and literature -- which equip students with attitudes, values, and skills required for global citizenship and effective participation in a modern society.
At 93%, the Philippines has one of the highest literacy rates in Asia. To ensure quality in Philippine higher education, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) identifies, develops and supports Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development, grants autonomous and deregulated status to deserving private higher education institutions (HEIs), and provides incentives to institutions that have undergone institutional quality assurance processes, and voluntary accreditation. The grant of accredited status by an accrediting body leads to public recognition that the HEI provides quality education. There are currently 248 HEIs identified as Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development, in addition to a number of ISO-certified universities.
The Philippines is home to one of the region's most prestigious establishments for higher learning -- the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). Established in 1968, AIM is hailed as a pioneer in international management education in Asia. It was established by visionaries in the academic and business communities in the region, in partnership with the Harvard Business School. It boasts of illustrious alumnae: 38,000 leaders and managers, including Mr. Sukavich Rangsitpol, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of Thailand, Mr. Tony Tan Caktiong, President and CEO of Jollibee Corporation, and Mr. Ahmad Mohamed Magad, Managing Director, II-VI Singapore Pte. Ltd and Member of Parliament of Singapore.
II. English-language Learning and Living Environment
As the third largest English-speaking country in the world, the Philippines is an ideal place to learn and hone one’s mastery of the English language. English is the medium of instruction in higher education, and the official language of government and business. There are 12 English national newspapers, 7 national TV stations broadcasting in English and Tagalog.
In its annual survey on Business English proficiency conducted by California-based GlobalEnglish Corporation, the Philippines alone attained a score above 7.0, a Business English Index level within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks in English.
High value education and the use of English as the primary medium of instruction in Philippine schools have produced a labor force equipped with competent technical skills and English proficiency. This, in turn, greatly contributed to the Philippines becoming the business process outsourcing capital of the world. Multinational companies like AIG, AOL, Barnes & Noble, Chevron, Citigroup, Dell, HP, HSBC, IBM, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, and Siemens AG are some of the industry giants that have decided to locate their business support activities in the Philippines.
English as a Second Language Tour Program. Interest in English language studies grew as more East Asians, particularly Koreans, flocked to the Philippines to hone their speaking abilities while enjoying the tourist attractions of the country. The Philippine Department of Tourism partnered with industry players in conducting the ‘Philippine ESL (English as a Second Language) Tour Program.’
In this program, the study of English forms part of a structured tour package. Studying English becomes more exciting and fun since participants get to interact, practice, and speak English in real-life settings through games, outdoor activities, excursions, and immersions. Aside from learning the English language, participants get to see the beautiful sceneries of the Philippine countryside and immerse themselves in the local culture. The duration of English courses vary depending on the needs and objectives of the student. Modules may range from one week to two months depending on the student’s level of proficiency. The Philippine government issues a Special Study Permit for those who wish to enroll in a non-degree course for less than one (1) year.
III. Medical Studies
The Philippines has been a favorite destination of foreign students who wish to become medical practitioners (medical doctors, nurses, physical therapists, medical technicians, etc.). Universities in the country have a long academic history, employ modern teaching methods, and are supported by excellent facilities.
The track record of Filipino medical practitioners in the US who are products of Philippine medical schools can attest to the quality of medical education in the Philippines. Filipino physicians have become faculty members of prestigious American medical schools and have held responsible positions in distinguished hospitals such as being chief of surgery, pediatrics, etc. Many have retired honorably from the United States military medical corps.
The great demand in the U.S. for graduates of Philippine medical schools also demonstrates the world class medical training available in the Philippines. Contributing a little over 9 percent of all foreign medical graduates in the U.S. (or 19,500 physicians), the Philippines is the second largest source country of foreign medical graduates in the U.S., after India.
In addition to medicine, there are various related fields wherein the Philippines excels such as nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and optometry.
Philippine education also offers excellent value for money. Tuition and living expenses in the Philippines are considerably less than neighboring countries. In the more prestigious private universities and colleges, the semestral tuition ranges from USD 600 – 1,300. State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), which are subsidized by the Philippine government, have lower tuition. Foreign students have several options for living quarters at reasonable rates. Dormitories, boarding houses, rooms, condominiums and even houses for rent, are conveniently located inside and around higher education institution campuses. It is estimated that a student can live a modest lifestyle by only spending US$350 to US$500 a month.
V. Other considerations
Philippine HEIs maintain international linkages with universities in other countries through the ASEAN University Network (AUN), the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) and other international organizations.
Business and accounting schools in the Philippines adhere to the US’ Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The Philippines is likewise included in the APEC Engineer Register, formally recognizing the academic and professional qualifications of Filipino engineers, and in the IMO white list, in recognition of the fact that Philippine maritime institutions have passed STCW ’95 standard.
The country itself is a prime tourism destination because of the breathtaking landscapes and waterscapes, as well as the wide diversity of flora and fauna it offers. A tropical paradise, the Philippines has an abundance of eco-tourism attractions, including pristine white beaches surrounded by crystal blue waters.
Last but not least, foreign students feel “at home” in the Philippines because of the warmth and hospitable nature of Filipinos.