CHEd: Most foreign students in PH from India, not China

CHEd: Most foreign students in PH from India, not China

/ 05:46 AM May 23, 2024

CHEd: Most foreign students in PH from India, not China

Photo from the Commission on Higher Education Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) clarified on Wednesday that over the past five years, most foreign students in the country were actually Indians and not Chinese.

In an inquiry at the House of Representatives, CHEd Executive Director Cinderella Benitez-Jaro said there were 17,202 foreign students enrolled in the country. Of these, 8,973 were Indians, 5,334 were Chinese, and 838 were Nigerians.


“Based on our data, for Academic Year 2022-2023, it was NCR (National Capital Region) with the highest number of Chinese students. For academic year 2023 … NCR, followed by Region II [Cagayan Valley],” she said.


She admitted a variance in the data presented by CHEd, whose figures are based on enrollment, and the Bureau of Immigration, whose data are based on visa issuance.

Data-sharing agreement

But both agencies have agreed to share data “so we can consolidate the data of all government agencies and we can appraise the committee,” Benitez-Jaro added.

The committee hearing arose from resolutions proposed by Cagayan Rep. Joseph Lara and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. seeking to investigate the “unusually high” number of Chinese enrollees in Cagayan amid heightened tensions between the Philippines and China over the disputed West Philippine Sea.

Lara asserted that the probe was “not racism or sinophobia, but we would rather not take any risks … above everything is our national security and sovereignty.”

Abante was more concerned about the country’s immigration law, mainly Commonwealth Act No. 613, or the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, and Republic Act No. 562, or the Alien Registration Act of 1950.

Above board

Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, at the same House hearing, said there appeared to be no irregularity in student visas granted to foreigners at St. Paul University of the Philippines.


He said that in 2023, only 1,464 foreigners applied for admission to the university and 52 others applied for extension.

“We have no data showing 4,600 [Chinese] students,” Tansingco said, referring to earlier claims that raised fears of national security threats.

At the same hearing, St. Paul’s University representative Jeremy Morales said there were currently 828 Chinese students enrolled in the university, of whom 200 were attending physically.

But he denied that any of their foreign students were charged P1.2 million for postgraduate education.

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Morales said St. Paul charges $1,000 per trimester for each foreign student “ … so for the students to complete their graduate school program, they are enrolled in at least 10 trimesters,” for a total of at least P580,000.

TAGS: Ched, Chinese enrolees

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