/ 8 May 2021

TO FURTHER hone their skills in various areas, leaders of 11 state universities joined a leadership program led by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture in partnership with Singapore-based The HEAD Foundation.

The participants are 29 vice presidents, campus executive directors, college deans, and other academic executives from the Cagayan State University, Capiz State University, Cavite State University, Cebu Technological University, Central Luzon State University, Central Mindanao University, Central Philippines State University, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, University of Eastern Philippines, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and Visayas State University.

The executive course dubbed “UP YOUR GAME: Leadership Development Program for higher education institutions in the Philippines” kicked off last April 21 and will run until June 7, 2021.

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the program challenges the participating higher education leaders to level up in the key areas of leadership, graduate preparedness, technology, and faculty readiness to face the growing number of challenges of higher education institutions.

He explained that among these challenges are massification, diversification, internationalization, and marketization of higher education.

“As an ASEAN member state, the Philippines needs to keep in step with the ASEAN International Mobility for Students initiative, gain recognition through the ASEAN University Rankings system, and prepare themselves for the unique local and regional challenges that come with the ASEAN Economic Community agenda,” Gregorio said.

“SEARCA’s current five-year strategic agenda focuses on accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation. Capacity development of leaders of agricultural HEIs is one avenue through which SEARCA contributes to accelerating systemic transformation,” he added.

THF is an international charitable organization that supports capacity-building programs designed to equip leaders with practical skills.

“Education plays a vital part in a country’s competitive edge,” Commission on Higher Education Prospero de Vera III said.

He stressed that “regardless of differences across the globe, education continues to be a very important and long-term intervention in ensuring sustainable development. It is not only a public good, but also a strategy for social cohesiveness.”

SEARCA Training for Development head Dr. Nova Ramos said “UP YOUR GAME” is the third installment of the SEARCA-THF initiative Leadership Development Program for HEIs in Southeast Asia.

“The program aims to equip Southeast Asian HEI leaders with the relevant skills and knowledge to effectively lead thriving and resilient universities in the region. In its two runs in January 2019 and January 2020, the program has so far enhanced the capacities of 36 higher education leaders from eight Southeast Asian countries,” she said.

Ramos said the program also includes coaching calls to discuss the progress and challenges that participants will encounter in implementing their re-entry action plans from June 28 to July 16, 2021.

“We hope that through this program and discussions between the trainers, participants, and guest speakers, it will inspire the participant to think about new ways to envision their institutions,” said THF Director for Operations Vignesh Naidu.

“Leadership in the future is about supporting bottom-up initiatives. Therefore, through a process of peer learning for each of the modules, everyone can come into conclusions about the way forward,” THF Program Director Dr. Natarajan Varaprasad said.