The European Delegation to the Philippines on Friday, Oct. 2, kicked off with this year’s European Higher Education Fair (EHEF), the much-awaited platform for Filipino students who dream of pursuing higher education in the EU.
EU Delegation Chargé d’affaires Thomas Wiersing said the two-day EHEF 2020 is a “milestone” event since this is the first-ever virtual staging of the annual program amid the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
Under the theme “Study in Europe: The Future is EUrs,” EHEF 2020 reinforces the EU’s distinction as a center of excellence in higher education by highlighting its successful efforts to be one of the early adopters of digital innovations in education through online and blended learning.
There are 93 participating European higher education institutions (EHEIs) from 12 member states, making this year’s event the biggest edition thus far.
Opportunities for students to have wider options to explore their chosen fields of study also increased this year with the participation of the best universities and colleges in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovak Republic, Spain, and Sweden.
Filipino students and educators outside Metro Manila can now register digitally and participate in the fair’s various programs. There will be webinars on research, scholarship, and mobility opportunities for students.
EHEF 2020 has also gone regional for the first time, and in real-time involving regional partner institutions such as Ateneo de Manila University (Manila), Wesleyan University (Luzon), Silliman University (Visayas), and Xavier University –Ateneo de Cagayan (Mindanao) in co-hosting clustered presentations for interested students and educators.
Meanwhile, higher education institutions from the Philippines have expressed their support for EHEF 2020, citing its importance in setting up “long-lasting collaborations” among educational institutions in the Philippines and in Europe.
“Although circumstances have compelled us to be apart, events such as this serve as a venue for European and Philippine higher education institutions to establish long-lasting collaborations in terms of teaching, research, and outreach. We thank the organizers for their efforts in making this event a reality, and hope that all of the participants to EHEF 2020 will find it to be meaningful and informative,” said Fernando Aldaba, dean of the School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University.
The link between Filipino students and the appeal of higher education in Europe dates back to the 1880s when young Filipino students traveled to Europe for a taste of its academic freedom and libertarian culture.
Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, along with other ilustrados like Juan Luna and Marcelo H. del Pilar, honed their intellect and kindled their aspirations for liberty and equality under the auspices of European educational institutions.