BAROTAC Nuevo, Iloilo, Philippines—A significant milestone in Southeast Asian Education was marked today, August 23, with the inauguration of the SEA-Teacher Student Exchange Project here. The event, held at ISUFST’s Social Hall, Tiwi Campus, forged the five-year collaboration between and among ISUFST, Universitas Ahmad Dahlan (UAD), and St. Augustine Catholic School (StACtS).

A first in the 66-year history of the university, the event will see a mutual exchange of students between ISUFST and UAD of Indonesia to promote teaching skills, English proficiency, and regional adaptability. The Indonesian pre-service teachers shall be holdings its internship sessions in Dumangas-based private school STACtS, a longtime partner institution for basic education internship of ISUFST.

Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., the visionary President of ISUFST, commented, “Despite the challenges presented by current times, we must harness international partnership to bridge gaps and strengthen ties. This historic event marks the beginning of a partnership that will greatly enhance our university’s pre-service teachers’ teaching experiences and internationalization mindset.”

From UAD, Rector Assoc. In a recorded message, Prof. Dr. Muchlas, M.T., shared, “This partnership reaffirms our commitment to global Education and fostering stronger regional ties. To our exchange students’ ‘nikmati proses belajar (enjoy the pricess of learning),’ and we look forward to the enriching experiences this project will bring.”

StACtS Director, Rev. Fr. Jesus Glofel Mana-ay, added, “Education knows no boundaries. We’re proud to partner with ISUFST and facilitate a nurturing environment for their Indonesian exchange students. With the help of our partners in ISUFST-Dumangas, we will provide them a taste of Filipino Education, culture, hospitality, and spirituality in the context of our basic education community.”

In his overview of the program, Dr. Herman Lagon, ISUFST International Affairs and Linkages Director mentioned via Zoom the SEA-Teacher Project emanates from the SEAMEO Education Agenda set in 2014. In the past nine years, it has continued to target senior students in various education fields for a one-month exchange, encompassing four stages: orientation and class observation, teaching assistance, classroom teaching, and reflection.

“The teaching-learning process-driven project aims to facilitate the development of teaching skills, promote English language practice, broaden regional and global perspectives, and expose aspiring educators and the stakeholders in their host schools to diverse teaching contexts and flexibility.”

To note, the SEA Teacher opening rites were physically graced onsite by UAD interns Ilma Umi Aulia Harjanto, Aulia Hidayati, af Desnika Putri Pambayun Ogestina. Also in attendance, albeit online, are Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Dr. Rusydi Umar; the Dean of the Faculty of Teacher Training Education, Dr. Muhammad Sayuti; my Head of the International Partnership Division, Ms. Ida Puspita; Vice Dean of the Faculty of Teacher Training Education, Dr. Ani Susanti; and all lecturers of the Faculty of Teacher Training Education. Aside from Fr. Glofel, StACtS is also represented by Mr. Rufel Batallones. ISUFST, meanwhile, is represented by the university administrators, directors, deans, chairpersons, faculty, and staff headed by Dr. Siason and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joan Belga, and Dumangas Campus Administrator, Dr. Liza Belandres.

Corollary to this, ISUFST is set to send its six select Education students—namely Angel Faith Sojon, Sheena Marie Detore, Julius Jr Maglasang, Kristoffer Rhys Grabato, Chlyredth Casaldan, and Kate Concepcion Benagua—to UAD in Indonesia this September for the same purpose. (Text by Herman Lagon; Photos by Ricky Ramos)