No man is an island: PASCH partnership sealed

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LAST week we described “Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding” as “formal agreements between two or more parties to establish official partnerships, expressing mutual accord on an issue . . .” and “not legally binding but . . . carry a degree of seriousness and mutual respect, stronger than a gentlemen’s agreement.” <https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+a+memo randum+of+under standing&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8>

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The introduction in a MOU/A is a concise statement of the what and why of the partnership, then proceeds to clearly list the how – the activities each party has to accomplish for the partnership’s purpose.

A brief background: Foreign language teachers are not easily available here in Mindanao. Availability in February 2010 of a newly-hired university official with a certificate in the teaching of German as a foreign language earned in Dusseldorf prompted the choice of teaching German as a foreign language. Myself as Graduate Studies dean at that time began German language to masters in nursing and doctorate classes in September 2010, utilizing the expertise of our newcomer. The CHED central office was quick to congratulate our pioneer efforts in this regard. DepEd’s December 2010 memorandum integrating foreign language in Grades 9 and 10 as response to globality, made us stick to our choice of German for which we were assured by the Goethe Institut Philippinen of trained teachers. Thus our teaching German since SY 2011-12 in junior high responds to DepEd’s Special Foreign Language Program (SFLP) of K-12 which launched in the same SY, the teaching of Spanish, Japanese, French and German piloted in DepEd’s choice of high schools (cf. my columns on SFLP in the June 19, July 03, 24 and 31 issues, respectively).

Confirmed in SY 2012-2013 as a School: Partner for the Future (Schulen der Zufunkt) or PASCH, Liceo High is one of three schools in our country officially recognized as such, among the 1,700 worldwide PASCH network. PASCH is “an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut (GI), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Educational Exchange Service of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (PAD).”http://www.pasch-net.de/udi/enindex.htm Its aim is “to develop vivid and long-lasting links with Germany, inspire schools, teachers and pupils to enjoy an open exchange of views and engage in cooperation.” For this reason the initiative supports PASCH schools “with a broad range of services” including scholarships here and in Germany, instructional equipment and materials, international youth competitions, exhibits, etc. Its goals include career prospects and broadened horizons through education and multilingualism and joint tackling of future problems as an international community of learners. < https://www.goethe.de/ins/gh/en/spr/eng/pas.html>

While nurturing this SFLP, global events included on-going negotiations of our country with germany for healthcare professionals, increasing need of multinationals as well as of call centres for employment of foreign language speakers. Supportive officials in the Philippine embassy in Berlin, like Minister Counsellor Mardomel Celo Melicor who to this day even whilst on his in-country tenure, assure us sustained support to our internationalization efforts.

To date, interest in learning German has spread to Liceo’s International Studies, liberal arts, hotel and restaurant and tourism, business and healthcare students with numbers similar to the 162 Grades 9 an 10 enrolled in German classes this SY.

Generously funded scholarships from Goethe Institut Philippinen (GI-P) to our teachers and students to learn German language and culture at GI-P Makati and in Germany and its various modes of support have helped us implant much interest in learning German language and culture to a great extent on campus and to parents of our students, earning for Liceo a label from GI-P as “the inspiring PASCH lighthouse in Mindanao.”

Following the signing ceremony of the MOU between GI-P and Liceo de Cagayan University, before a mixed audience of guests, students and faculty, the principal signatories read parts of the MOU: GI-P Director Dr. Ulrich Nowak read the subject and purpose of the MOU, the activities that must be accomplished to realize the purpose were read by GI-P German Language Program Head Herr Falk Schleicher and those to be accomplished by Liceo High were read by HS Principal Frau Joan Gallaron. The latter two signed the MOU as witnesses along with the German Embassy’s Cultural Attache Herr Thorsten Werner Gottfried, and myself.

As presiding officer of the signing of the MOU, I share with you the acceptance speech and words of gratitude that I delivered.

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It is a great privilege for me to have been requested by our Executive Vice-President to publicly express the University’s gratitude for the benefits that will flow out of this Memorandum of Understanding that has just been sealed with the signatures of Goethe Institut Philippinen Director Dr. Ulrich Nowak and Liceo de Cagayan University EVP and VP for Administration Dr. Alain Marc P. Golez.

Liceo has enjoyed quite a long-standing friendship with Goethe Institut Philippinen. Over the last four years, programs of cooperation have been established in the field of German culture especially the teaching and learning of the German language – a language spoken by over a hundred thirty million people across the globe. This MOU commits us to work together more closely towards our common goal — the pursuit of internationalization of education through a knowledge of the German language. Each party will pursue significant activities, among which are the promotion and assistance to support educational and cultural exposure through scholarships, seminars, workshops, conferences, international youth camps, competitions and teacher training for language teachers. These are priority items in the special foreign language program of Liceo which at the same time supports the Special Foreign Language Program (SFLP) of the Department of Education.

At this moment of celebration, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone whose dedication and efforts have contributed to the finalization of this MOU. In particular, I thank the University’s administration, the High School Principal and Liceo’s German language teachers, the Graduate Studies and undergraduate colleges and all other units in the University. Their goodwill, friendship and insights have made the signing of this MOU a reality.

I close to say, that through our commitment, we will achieve more and be able to continue to develop even stronger relationships and friendships with the Federal Republic of Germany, principally, through the Goethe Institut Philippinen and the Embassy of Germany to the Philippines. I would like to assure our audience that Liceo de Cagayan University will do whatever it can in order to provide a successful implementation of this MOU we have just sealed today.

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Teresita Tanhueco-Tumapon,PhD, is one of the Philippines’ most accomplished educators and experts on institutional management in colleges and universities. Her studies have included not only education and pedagogy but also literature. She has studied not only in the topmost universities in the Philippines but also in Germany, Britain and Japan. She is now the Vice-President for External Relations and Internationalization of Liceo de Cagayan University (in Cagayan de Oro) after serving as its VP for Academic Affairs for five and a half years concurrent to her ten years as dean in the Graduate Studies of the same university. She holds a Lifetime Professional Achievement Award from the central office of the Commission on Higher Education.

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