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PH, Australia pilot online cultural exchange course in Makati high school

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine and Australian governments launched an intercultural exchange program that allows students and teachers from both countries to engage and learn each other’s culture online.

On Tuesday, August 8, the Philippine Department of Education (DepED) and Australia’s Asia Education Foundation picked Makati High School to launch the Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (Bridge) school partnership program.  

Apart from Makati High School, 3 other Philippine schools will be partners with Australian schools under the program this year:

During the launch, 5 students from Makati High School held a video conference call with 7 students from Australia’s St Paul’s College Kempsey.

Among the things they talked about were how it is like for Makati High School students to live in one of the densely populated countries, and Australia’s interest in the Asean region.

DepEd Assistant Secretary Nepomuceno Malaluan and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely joined them. (READ: Australia donates nearly P800 million for Marawi)

FREE TALK. A Makati High school student asks Gorely why Australia is interested in making partnerships with ASEAN countries. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

FREE TALK. A Makati High school student asks Gorely why Australia is interested in making partnerships with ASEAN countries.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

“As you can see, it really brings learners and teachers together. The program will also include not just video conferencing and modalities like this, but we are sending also 4 teachers from the Philippines to Australia from the same 4 schools that were chosen for this year,” said Malaluan. 

One Filipino teacher from the 4 selected schools will also visit Australia for a 12-day professional learning program.

According to Malaluan, the 4 Philippine schools were chosen based on the strength of their science, arts, and culture programs, as well as their capacity for fast Internet connection.

For Gorely, the Bridge program would also benefit participating high school students by helping pique their interest in possible scholarship opportunities in the Philippines and Australia.

“The beauty of this program is that it piques the interest of high school students here in the Philippines and in Australia into each other’s countries. So when they’re looking at where they might study in later years at university, they already have a familiarity with each other and they might be attracted to those scholarships,” said Gorely. 

Australia is the Philippines’ biggest bilateral partner in education. Australia is investing P856 million in for two major programs for school year 2017 to 2018: the Basic Education Transformation Sector and the Education Pathways to Peace Program. – Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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