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New law allows foreign schools to establish presence, collaborate with PH universities

/ 03:23 PM September 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines—Foreign universities may now establish branch campuses in the Philippines and collaborate with local higher education institutions after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a measure seeking to enhance the global competitiveness of the country’s higher education.

Under Republic Act 11448 or the Transnational Higher Education Act which Duterte signed on Aug. 28, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is mandated to formulate a coherent national strategy to encourage and facilitate the establishment of the most effective forms of transnational higher education programs and institutions.

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The new law allows Foreign Higher Education Institutions  (FHEIs) to engage in the business of providing educational services in the Philippines through various modes or through an arrangement with a local higher education institution in accordance with the Constitution.

It allowed FHEIs to establish branch campuses in the Philippines through a local partner, at least 60 percent owned by Filipino citizens, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Trade and Industry, as the case may be.

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“The local branch shall be managed and administered jointly by the parties, subject to the provisions of the Constitution on control and administration of educational institutions. The local partner shall be accountable for assuring the quality of the programs offered,” the law stated.

Transnational Higher Education Institutions (TNHEIs) may offer undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees in the Philippines, the law said, adding that the CHEd may determine the propriety of offering other specialized courses, including Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Medicine by qualified institutions, by qualified institutions.

Meanwhile, Philippine HEIs with programs recognized by CHED may also offer services offshore provided that they will preserve the reputation of the Philippines as a provider of quality higher education as well as abide by the laws and rules and regulations of the host country.

The law also mandated the creation of the Transnational Higher Education Division under the CHED International Affairs Staff to formulate policies and guidelines in the operations of TNHE programs, accept and process applications of local and foreign universities for authority to operate and evaluate the performance of TNHEIs.

Concerned government agencies and local government units are mandated to expedite the processing of applications, documents, and permits for foreign universities to establish and operate education and auxiliary services in the country.

Revenues and assets of nonstock, nonprofit TNHEIs which are used actually, directly, and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from taxes and duties, the law stated./ac

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