MANILA, Philippines—More than 26,000 foreigners are currently studying in various schools throughout the country with South Koreans topping the list, according to the Bureau of Immigration.
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr., in a statement, disclosed that more than 17,000 college enrollees accounted for the bulk of the foreign students while the rest were studying in elementary and high school or taking short-term language courses.
David said those enrolled in college are holders of student visa while elementary and high-school students are issued special study permits (SSPs).
He explained that both the student visa and SSP are issued by the BI to qualified foreign students pursuant to Section 9(f) of the Philippine Immigration Act.
The BI chief cited the increasing number of foreigners studying here as “proof that the Philippines is fast emerging as a major educational hub in the Asia-Pacific region.”
“The fact that more and more foreigners are opting to study here is testament to the improving standard and quality of education provided by the country’s learning institutions,” David said.
BI student desk chief, lawyer Grace Gaudelyn, said that of the 17,087 foreigners who applied for student visas from July 2010 to June this year, 12,806 are old students while 4,281 are newcomers.
She explained that foreign students are still considered tourists; thus, they are required to update their stay as temporary visitors while studying in the country.
Lara said that South Koreans, numbering 11,612, topped the list of the foreign students, followed by 3,961 Chinese and 3,225 Iranians.
Under existing BI rules, only schools or language centers accredited by the BI are authorized to admit foreigners for enrollment.
There are 104 schools and learning institutions nationwide accredited by the BI.