‘Exponentially higher’ PH inquiries on US education during pandemic – embassy official

Bonz Magsambol
‘Exponentially higher’ PH inquiries on US education during pandemic – embassy official
Cultural Affairs Officer Nina Lewis says one reason may be the availability of in-person learning in the United States during the pandemic

The United States embassy in the Philippines saw “exponentially higher” inquiries on US education during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

At a media roundtable discussion on Wednesday, November 17, Nina Lewis, Cultural Affairs Officer of the US embassy in Manila, said that the reason for this could be that a lot of students in the Philippines were looking for in-person learning opportunities that the country could not offer at that time.

“I’m not sure if it’s because people are online so much more right now but our number of inquiries is actually exponentially higher than before,” she said.

“I think a lot of students are sitting at home and looking for opportunities and the US has been largely great open during the pandemic so a lot of students have approached this looking for alternatives and in-person learning opportunities that they haven’t been able to have in the Philippines during this time,” Lewis added.

Lewis, however, could not give definite numbers yet on how many Filipino students went to the US during the global health crisis as their Open Doors report was based on data prior to the pandemic.

Lewis said that Filipino students excel in the US because of their high level of English proficiency.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Philippine schools were shut down forcing students to shift to remote learning. It was only in January 2021 when some colleges and universities were allowed to hold in-person classes starting with medical and allied health sciences programs.

In September, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the expansion of limited face-to-face classes to other degree programs that “require hands-on experience.” (READ: Duterte OKs limited face-to-face classes in engineering, tourism, 3 other courses)

On Tuesday, November 16, the government’s coronavirus task force approved the phased rollout of face-to-face classes for colleges and universities in all degree programs. Colleges and universities can start applying for authorization starting December 2021. –

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.