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PHL universities join HK Education Fair

06 March 2017

Capili and some of the members of the UP Alumni Association in Hong Kong.

By Daisy CL Mandap

Come study in the Philippines.

This was the common message of the Philippine Consulate and the country’s three top universities when they joined the Hong Kong Education and Careers Expo held at the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai on Feb 23-26.

The University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University each sent representatives to speak with local residents and Filipinos who dropped by their booth at the fair on the advantages of studying in the Philippines.

Prof. Wendell Capili, U.P.’s assistant vice president for public affairs and director of alumni relations, said in his talk on Feb. 26 that the university provides inexpensive quality education with tuition fees of just HK$6,000 upwards per year.

However, entry into the country’s premiere institution could be very competitive, with only 15%-17% of applicants being accepted each year.

For foreign students or Filipinos who completed their secondary education abroad, the entry level could be through several channels: obtaining a score of at least 1,270 in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT); getting three passes in the General Certificate of Education (GCE), or graduating from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

They can also take the UP College Admissions Test (UPCAT), but this is not advisable as it has a Filipino language component.

Another way is through transfer from other universities. Those who avail of this route should have a general weighted average of 2.0 or higher and have earned at least 33 academic units.

A big advantage that U.P. has over other schools is the number of constituent universities it has all over the Philippines: 10 as of last count, from Baguio in far north to Davao City in the south. The biggest is the main campus located in Diliman, Quezon City; and the newest, the post-graduate school at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

Ateneo and De La Salle, being equally selective, impose roughly the same entrance requirements for students at all levels. But unlike U.P., their entrance tests do not include Filipino competency, so foreign students can opt to take them.

All three would have difficulty competing with Hong Kong schools, however, in enticing scholars from abroad to study in their institutions.

In his opening speech at the education fair, Hong Kong’s secretary of education Eddie Ng revealed that a budget of $450,000 per year has been set aside in scholarships for 15,000 students.  The scholarship has been opened to more foreign students over the last few years, including to some of the Philippines’ best and the brightest.

The territory’s annual budget for education has also risen significantly over the past several years, and now stands at $87.4 billion. The increased spending is aimed partly at further boosting the international standing of its schools, although University of Hong Kong is now said to be ranked top in Asia.

This year’s education fair is the first time the Consulate has been invited to take part. In turn, the Consulate invited the top three universities in the Philippines to come and try to widen their international students’ base.

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