Australian Ambassador to Manila Bill Tweddell on Friday urged Filipinos to study in his country as he noted that education continues to be the flagship of Australia’s program of development cooperation with the Philippines.
“Education is a key fo s of our development assistance,” Tweddell said at a forum organized by The Manila Times. He added that the foundation of Australia’s relationship with the Philippines is the support it provides for the education sector.
“I can’t think of a better way to support a friend than with the education of the young people of their country,” the ambassador said.
Anthony Weymouth, senior trade and investment commissioner of the Australian Trade Commission, said there are currently 6,300 Filipino students in Australia taking up fully-funded undergraduate and graduate courses in various fields such as information technology, business-related courses and engineering.
Others prefer technical trade or the culinary arts.
“We are happy with that number. We want that to keep going. Why? We think education means a lot,” Weymouth noted.
“In Australian education, your future is unlimited. And we really believe that,” he said.
Each year, Australia welcomes an increasing number of international students to its universities and colleges.
It ranks third in the English-speaking world behind the United States and Britain as an international student destination.
In the Philippines, the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) promotes education through initiatives such as the “Study in Australia” campaign.
Austrade regularly organizes and supports exhibitions and activities participated in by Australian colleges, universities and institutions.
Currently, there are over 250,000 migrant workers in Australia, with Filipinos making up the fourth biggest bloc.
Tweddell attributed the growth of the workforce to service in culture and flexibility.
“We also specialize in sustainable mining operations. We are respectful of indigenous communities and see to it that our activities are responsible in the economic, environment and social aspects so as not to disturb the ecological balance,” he said.
In tourism, the envoy also noted an increase in Australian arrivals in the Philippines in recent years mainly because of wondrous diving spots.
Australia is the Philippines’ largest bilateral grant aid donor with over P32 billion in aid investments since 2001.