Australia-ASEAN Council launches Philippines’ BRIDGE program in Makati

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The Philippines’ first BRIDGE (Building Relationship through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement) School partner was launched today in Makati High School.

A flagship program of the Australian government and the Australian-ASEAN Council, BRIDGE aims to link Australian school communities with their counterparts across the region through collaborative learning activities using digital technology.

BRIDGE also targets to deepen intercultural understanding and enhance the digital skills of the students.

Since digital technology is among the key elements in this program, Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Nepomuceno Malaluan explained that a school needs to have a strong internet capacity and strong ICT component for it to qualify as a BRIDGE partner.

“We also look at the school’s strength in Science and Arts,” he added.

There will be a total of four BRIDGE partners in the Philippines this year. Aside from Makati High School, the others selected were San Fernando National High School in Camarines Sur, Iloilo National High School, and Negros Occidental High School in Bacolod City. DepEd said another four schools will be chosen next year.

According to Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely, education has been the country’s forefront support to the Philippines.

Gorely attended the program’s launch in Makati High School, along with Malaluan and Makati Mayor Abigail Binay-Campos. They participated in the video conference between Makati High School students and the Australian students from St. Paul’s College, New South Wales.

Meanwhile, DepEd said that one teacher from each of the four chosen schools will visit Australia for a 12-day professional learning program.

Malaluan said teachers will have an eight-day school immersion and homestay.

Four Australian teachers will have a similar visit to the Philippines, he added.

“We will see students from two partner schools from our countries, separated by great distance, but brought together in communication and learning through technology,” he said. (Ma. Cristina Arayata/PNA)

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