ANTENA successfully conducts training, workshop amid global pandemic

by (contributed news)

Amid the global pandemic that prevented travels and put people on quarantine, the training on information and communication technologies and strategic planning workshop for international relations officers of Philippine higher education institutions and state universities and colleges was successfully conducted by the University of Alicante last 15-19 June 2020 as facilitated by the European Foundation for Management Development. 

The ICT training, held on 15-16 June 2020 to discuss the applications and relevance of ICT as primary tools in the different internationalization initiatives of HEIs and SUCs, was immediately followed by the workshop on strategic planning on 17-19 June 2020. The online training and workshop are part of the capacity building initiative of ANTENA, an internationalization of higher education institutions in the Philippines project which is co-financed by the ERASMUS + program of the European Commission.

In his welcome address, Fr. Jose M. Cruz SJ, Ateneo de Manila University’s Vice President for University and Global Relations, noted that ANTENA “is an exceedingly appropriate name. An antenna is crucial in technology-based communication. It is a component of a system that allows us to transcend great distances. Though the pandemic denies us physical proximity, we nevertheless are intent on fostering internationalization in the many ways available to us.” 

Carolina Madeleine, UA’s senior project manager of the International Project Management Office, underscored the objective of the ANTENA project to increase the academic quality and research of universities in the Philippines through the development of internationalization capacities. She said: “As the World Bank reports it on 8 April 2020, universities and other tertiary institutions were closed in 175 countries. Meaning that 220 million students ended their studies completely or to some extent. During this time, international departments had to face with ensuring that international students can go back home and if not ensure security for all international students in their host country.” These are just some of the challenges that international relations offices face, and ANTENA aims to equip them in addressing such unique challenges.

The first day of training focused on the different ICTs that can be used to address the current needs of the IROs and to advance its internationalization agenda.  UA’s IT experts David Collado, Francisco José Gallego Dolón and Eric Sánchez shared their insights on various communication platforms.  Francisco Vives, UA’s multimedia over the network coordinator, discussed unassisted recording of classes and events. Dr. Mario Guilló, UA’s marketing and communications manager, talked about branding in social media platforms.

The second day of training was an informative session by UA’s Felipe Ruiz, vice-dean of internationalization and mobility, and Macarena Orgiles, head of international relations office, on their experience with managing the different concerns of the international students during the pandemic. The workshop concluded with representatives from the small groups sharing their own experiences with international students and their ideas on the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 in higher education institutions.

The three-day workshop that followed the ICT Training provided IROs with instruments and techniques in analysis methodology to enable them to craft an actionable strategic plan for internationalization.  The workshop was conducted by the EFMD Team headed by Dr. Christophe Terrasse, director of EFMD international projects. It started with a diagnosis and analysis of the internationalization of the HEIs, followed by a step-by-step approach for building the strategic plan and ended with discussions on how to ensure that it complies with international quality standards.  All three days of the workshop culminated with presentations from the participants on various topics in the group discussions.

Representatives from the Philippine Commission on Higher Education and member institutions, which include the Ateneo de Manila University, Benguet State University, Central Luzon State University, De la Salle University, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Saint Louis University, University of the Philippines, University of San Carlos, and Xavier University, participated in the five-day training.

*ANTENA is a capacity-building cooperation project co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission. For more news about ANTENA, visit  https://www.antena-project.eu/news.