Foreign investment in HEIs can have big impact on human capital dev't

By Wilnard Bacelonia

February 23, 2024, 4:06 pm

<p>College students <em>(File photo)</em></p>

College students (File photo)

MANILA – Removing the foreign investment restrictions on higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the 1987 Constitution can have a big impact on human capital development, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian made the statement in response to statements downplaying that the proposal would have little impact on the Philippine economy.

"'Wag lang natin tingnan 'yung short-term. For example, 'yung education, kapag pumasok dito, let's say, 'yung malalaking foreign universities like Stanford or MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), maliit nga 'yung dadalhin nilang investments pero 'yung kanilang technical know-how na makukuha naman natin, malaking maitutulong sa atin niyan (Let's not just look at the short-term. For example, in education, let's say big foreign universities like Stanford or MIT enter the country, they might bring a small amount of investment but their technical know-how will be a big help for us) in the long-run," Gatchalian said in a Zoom interview Friday.

Foreign ownership of educational institutions is restricted under Article XIV but one of the proposals under the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 (RBH 6) seeks to amend this provision.

In a previous RBH 6 hearing, National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said allowing foreign investments in the country would result in better quality of education that would later produce a competitive workforce.

Looking at Vietnam

In the same interview, Gatchalian said the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II), of which he is a co-chairperson, is planning to visit Vietnam to look at the country's "best practices" in education.

He noted that the Philippines ranked 75th in the 2022 Program for International Student Assessment and Vietnam ranked 31st but both countries have the same average spending per student.

"Bibisita kami sa Vietnam next month para tingnan 'yung kanilang best practices sa education system nila. 'Pag nakikita mo ang Vietnam, pareho 'yung gastos nila per student basis sa atin pero 'yung scores nila 100 points more compared sa atin (We will visit Vietnam next month to know their best practices in their education system. Vietnam has the same spending per student with us but their scores were 100 points more compared to us)," Gatchalian said.

"Ibig sabihin, talagang napakagaling nung education system nila. But kasama din dun sa system nila 'yung pagpayag sa (It means that, their education system is excellent. But their system also include allowing) 100 percent foreign ownership," he added.

In an earlier hearing, an official of the EDCOM II said removing the restrictions on foreign ownership and management in the Constitution is seen as a first step in the internationalization of Philippine higher education, making it globally competitive. (PNA)