The Philippine and New Zealand enhance closer educational linkages
As the Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington continues to promote people-to-people ties and educational links between the Philippines and New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez accompanied by Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa and Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Q. Obach visited Whitireia Community Polytechnic in Porirua on 06 May 2014.Dr. Cecilia F. Aquino, Academic Manager, Affiliate, Institute of IT Professionals and Director, MAC Phils Consulting Ltd. NZ and CF Aquino Consultancy and Management Services Phils.was also present. Whitireia Community Polytechnic is a New Zealand government-owned tertiary institution, offering programmes from certificate to post graduate level.
Together with officers of the Whitereia Community Polytechnic, Dr. Aquino is instrumental in arranging an educational delivery link between AMA Computer University in the Philippines and Whitireia Community Polytechnic in New Zealand which has resulted in the two educational institutions’ signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on 15 April 2014 in Manila. The MOA was signed by Mr. Don Campbell, Chief Executive, on behalf of Whitireia Community Polytechnic, and by Ms. Alma V. Dela Cruz, Vice President for Academic Affairs, on behalf of AMA Computer University.
Ambassador Benavidez , the Philippine Embassy officers and Dr. Aquino were formally welcomed by the officials of Whitireia at the Porirua Campus, namely, Mr. Don Campbell, Chief Executive, Mr. Paul Maguiness, General Manager, Whitireia International, Ms. Kiri Bishop, International Operations Manager, Ms. Mi-jin Kim, Marketing Manager for Korea, Philippines, Russia, Mr. Taku Parai, Pou Arahi, Mr. Lawrence Arps, Deputy CEO-Academic, Mr. Chris Gosling, Deputy CEO-Operations, Ms. Kay Jujnovich, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Ms. Gerry McCullough, Dean, Faculty of Business, Dr. Sue Chard, Programme Manager of Information Technology, Mr. Neil Gardiner, Academic Programme Manager, Faculty of Trade and Services, Mr. Greg Walton, International Marketing Manager, and Ms. Rachel Bascher, Reference Librarian. Also present during the visit was Ms. Linda Sissons, Chief Executive of the Wellington Institute of Technology.
A formal mihi or welcome speech and greetings in Te Reo Maori was presented by Mr. Taku Parai and the Whitireia officials sang a waiata or welcome song at the end of the mihi. Ambassador Benavidez was invited to speak after the formal welcome. She stated in her remarks that the MOA between Whiteria Community Polytechnic and AMA Computer University for the Partnership on International Pathway Programme is a milestone development in Philippines-New Zealand relations. The Agreement that will enable students to gain credit from their study in a diploma or degree programme at AMA Computer University into a specified diploma or degree programme at Whitireia Community Polytechnic with the first year to be done in the Philippines and the remaining part to be conducted in New Zealand is the first of its kind to be undertaken by both countries. Education is a priority area of cooperation given the importance of fostering human resources development between Filipinos and New Zealanders and enhancing greater people-to-people interaction. She acknowledged that Whiteria Community Polytechnic is known and recognized for its prescribed curriculum and comprehensive programmes following global technological and social standards and requirements in New Zealand, extensive use of support and state-of-the art facilities and various courses and training to allow their students to reach their fullest potentials and attain professional credentials and academic success. As such, the partnership between Whitireia Community Polytechnic and AMA Computer University will undoubtedly enable the students to get the proper and comprehensive education, experience, exposure and specialized understandings of their field of study. Ambassador Benavidez further remarked that education is a priority area of cooperation given the importance of fostering human resources development between Filipinos and New Zealanders and enhancing greater people-to-people interaction. “This brings to mind one of my favourite enduring Maori proverbs: “He aha te mea nui te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!” (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!), said Ambassador Benavidez.
Mr. Campbell, Chief Executive of Whitireia, conveyed Whitireia’s warm welcome to Ambassador Benavidez and stated that Whitireia is looking forward to working with AMA and the Embassy of the Philippines to further develop educational linkages between New Zealand and the Philippines. Mr. Campbell also presented Ambassador Benavidez with a glass sculpture of Hei Matau or Fish Hook, which is a symbol of plenty, determination, prosperity, safe journey over water and good health. Ambassador Benavidez, in turn, presented Mr. Campbell with a token gift of pearls from the Philippines, which were made by women of the community. The exchange of gifts was followed by the shaking of hands and the Hongi, the pressing of noses between officials of Whitireia and Ambassador Benavidez, the Philippine Embassy officers and Dr. Aquino which represents the tradition of sharing the breath of life.
At present, the academic teams of both educational institutions are cross checking the subjects being offered and other detailed terms and conditions in accordance with immigration and education laws and policies of both countries. Teacher training, staff development and student exchanges are also being considered. The first intake of students from AMA Computer University is being scheduled to arrive in Whitireia Community Polytechnic in September or October 2014. A conference via satellite (ViSat) is being planned for 28 May 2014 which will be broadcasted to all AMA Computer University campuses in the Philippines.