MANILA, Philippines — Education Secretary Armin Luistro on Wednesday lamented how some of the “best and brightest” Filipinos who are given opportunities to study abroad never came back to the country.
He said that compared to the earliest Filipino scholars who received education in Europe but came back and became heroes, many of the recent Filipino students educated abroad “never came back.”
“We lost our best and brightest students,” he said during his speech at the opening of the European Higher Education Fair at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.
“We need to transform this vicious cycle of our best and brightest going abroad and never coming back,” he said.
But Luistro pointed out that he was still hopeful that Filipinos given the chance to study under the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus scholarship and mobility programme will come back to share what they have learned abroad.
“I think we are more than ready to engage again in a new mode that will allow us to become real partners with the European Union in terms of competitiveness,” he said, boasting of the Philippines’ taking “great strides in showing we can be at par with the world in terms of education standards.”
And with the recent implementation of the K-12 program, Luistro said that “at this stage, the country is rethinking what we mean by excellent education.”
European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux said that the fair was significant because it was being done in celebration of the 25 years of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship and mobility programme and marks “a milestone with furthering our relationship with the Philippines in terms of higher education.”
Chairperson for Higher Education Patricia Licuanan told reporters that exposure to education systems abroad will benefit Filipino students as it is a venue for them to “expand their horizons.”
But Luistro stressed that it was important for Filipino students given opportunities to be educated in European universities to come back and bring their foreign friends over to the Philippines to experience its education system.
“We have something to share, too,” he said.
The European Higher Education Fair: Brighter Prospects is open to the public from 2 to 8 p.m.
Participating during the symposium are 22 European Higher Education Institutions from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.