TAU launches virtual international exchange program amid pandemic

To collaboratively address the global challenges in higher learning amid pandemic, the Tarlac Agricultural University and six partner universities in Indonesia foregrounded their internationalization efforts by launching a virtual student exchange program via a Zoom meeting last March 8, 2021.

Director Christine N. Ferrer of TAU-External Linkages and International Affairs reiterated that strengthening academic partnerships with premier universities abroad is imperative to students’ global future. Despite the diverse needs of the students, Dr. Ferrer stressed the benefits of harmonizing the curriculum through global cooperation, providing the students their prospective careers, and expose them to varying cultures.

Consequently, TAU President Max P. Guillermo welcomed the rectors and the deans from the six Indonesian universities who participated in this virtual student exchange program. Dr. Guillermo added that the essence of the international exchange program is to initiate the sharing of the best practices with global partners. He also hopes that this program would continue to expand the University’s network in providing quality education, research productions, and community development services.  

The participating Indonesian universities in this virtual student exchange program are the Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), the Universitas Pancasakti Tegal (UPS), the Universitas Islam Malang (UNISMA), the Universitas Pembangunan Nasional “Veteran” Yogyakarta (UPNVY), the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), and the Universitas Negeri Surabaya (UNESA).

Meanwhile, the Indonesian students involved in the program are taking up degrees in Accounting, Banking and Management, Business Management, Industrial Management, Communication, Chemistry, Mathematics Education, Physics, Biology, Science Education, Engineering Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Geomatics Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Information System, Informatics Management, Agrotechnology, Agribusiness Management, Livestock Technology, and Management. These students will be attending synchronous and asynchronous classes in the six colleges of TAU from February to June 2021.

Dr. Arief Daryanto, the dean of the College of Vocation Studies of IPB, acknowledged the warm welcome of TAU. He insisted that despite the pandemic, educators should recognize the importance of adapting to the changes brought by it particularly in the shift of delivering higher education in the global milieu. He added that, despite the closure of the Philippine and Indonesian borders amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the IPB’s academic community believes that this collaboration could further international goodwill.

Even though this exchange program will be conducted through a virtual platform, Dr. Mohamad Irhas Effendi of UPNVY proclaimed that the significance of this global partnership is to enable the students to expand their horizons and experience the best possible conditions to succeed and take a part in the national development.

Rector H. Maskuri of UNISMA also reiterated that this international exchange program would further strengthen the relationships of Indonesia and the Philippines. He even recalled that they planned to visit TAU; however, their visit was postponed due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, Rector Maskuri aimed to continue the institutional partnerships of UNISMA and TAU; hence, they seek to visit the Philippines and launch more internationalization projects/partnerships when everything returns to normal.  

Dr. Ma. Asuncion G. Beltran, Vice President of TAU- Research, Extension & Training (RET) concluded the welcome ceremony leaving a remark that through this global collaboration, institutions from various nations could grow together, exchange ideas, and share available technologies to resolve global issues and address the demands of the increasing population of stakeholders, local and abroad. (RCalpito, PDO)