Ong of QS/THE Rankings moderates session at virtual QS APPLE conference, exhibition 2021

Deputy Director of the Office of QS/THE Rankings and ASEAN Engr. Nestor R. Ong, and Office Assistant Mr. Vien Vic G. Flores, attended the three-day Virtual QS-APPLE Conference and Exhibition. Ong served as moderator for a breakout session in the conference on the theme “Future Rebalance: Emerging trends and workforce in the Asia Pacific” held from November 1 to 3, 2021.

The conference, which had 80 speakers, included keynote speeches, debates, panel discussions, case studies and thought-provoking sessions that reflected the opportunities and trends in education in the Asia Pacific region. Some of the key topics included were the role of artificial intelligence in addressing global challenges; how universities can thrive through a network of global partnerships; how the pandemic has brought about changes in the way students learn and the future of global student exchanges.

Prior to the QS APPLE Event, the Commission on Higher Education International Affairs Staff (CHED IAS) assigned Engr. Ong and Flores to lead the 19 participating Philippine Universities in producing six booth videos as part of the preparatory activities presented at the actual proceeding of the events. The video contents gave an overview of Philippine Higher Education, Internationalization Initiatives, Covid-19 initiatives, Impact Projects, and world-class achievements.

Part of the participating HEIs were: UST, Benguet State University, Bicol University, Caraga State University, Cavite State University, Cebu Technological University, and Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology.

Other participating universities that formed part of the CHED IAS delegation were: Batangas State University, Central Luzon State University, Central Mindanao University, Mariano Marcos State University, Tarlac Agricultural University , University of the Philippines , University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines, University of Southern Mindanao, Visayas State University, West Visayas State University , and Western Mindanao State University, among others that included private universities in the Philippines.

On the first day of the conference, the QS Stars Rating results across the Asia Pacific region was announced during the QS Stars Awards. With the introduction of 5 Stars Universities of which UST was rated as the first and only university in the Philippines to be rated 5 Stars, a one-minute video by the UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., was presented sharing UST’s experience and journey toward this achievement.

“The University of Santo Tomas is a higher education institution that is constantly forward looking. One that moves with the times and how to blaze trails in the various disciplines. Our QS journey can be described as both remarkable and exciting. To be included amongst the finest in the world is not only an honor but also a reminder that universities have to keep close watch with the demands of global market in which degree programs must be germane to the needs of the times,” said Fr. Ang.

Ong was the only Filipino representative to sit on the newly structured QS Global Advisory Committee (GAC) formerly known as the QS International Academic Advisory Committee for approximately six years. He was tasked to moderate the Breakout Session 3: Cultivating Great Minds (Innovation in Pedagogy).
After the presentations made by participants from Kansai University (“Digitally Strengthened International Partnerships: The Global Smart Classroom Initiative to Build Inclusive International Education”), Nanyang Technological University (“Reim-AI-gine Teacher Education”), and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (“Curriculum Innovation for the Challenge of Digital Transformation: Integrating Data Science with Policy Studies”), Ong emphasized in his closing remarks that “This education industrial revolution 4.0 focuses on modern and smart technology, AI, robotics, all of which influence our everyday lives.”

“Institutions must value the power digital technology has on transforming education. Creativity is the foundation of Education 4.0. It emphasizes the need to prepare students to take on challenges, head-on,” Ong ended.

Ong and his colleagues from QS GAC were commended by GAC Chair Prof. Nigel Healey, for all their contributions and QS Editor & Programme Designer Mr. Anton John Crace, for their hard work and support to the programme, and for successfully bringing together the entire conference.
Flores, who won the short and quick quiz, received for his prize, a free registration to attend Analytics Level 2 Certification.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III, led the CHED Roundtable Discussion on Philippine Higher Education in the Era of Fourth Industrial Revolution with Party-List Kabayan District Representative Ron Salo, Mariano Marcos State University President Dr. Shirley Agrupis, and British Council Philippines Interim Country Director and Head of Education Ms. Lotus Postrado.

The three-day Virtual QS APPLE Conference and Exhibition 2021 was attended by 1,200 delegates, leading minds and experts from across the Asia Pacific region who gathered to address and debate emerging trends in higher education composed of university presidents, vice chancellors, policy advisors, international collaboration experts, senior and rising higher education administrators, academics, public officials, quality assurance experts, businessmen, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

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