News Release

Church and BYU Partner with Bicol University in Pioneering Transnational Education in the Philippines

“Trailblazing” was the word used by Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas- SUC President IV of Bicol University, during a meeting with the Church’s Welfare and Self Reliance Services (WSRS) and the Philippines Area Presidency as they talked about the partnership of Bicol University and Brigham Young University – Hawaii (BYU-Hawaii) regarding the creation of a ‘transnational education model’ on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.


Present at the meeting are Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas - SUC President IV of Bicol University; Dr. Amelia A. Dorosan - Vice President for Academic Affairs of Bicol University; Dr. Maria Jane Mascariñas -Professor VI of Bicol University Open University; Brother Jairus Perez - Latter-day Saints Charities (LDSC) Country Director, Brother Abenir Pajaro - Area Welfare and Self-Reliance Manager, Brother Franco Advincula - WSR Managers Supervisor, Brother John Balledos - Manager of Education Support Services and the Area Presidency.

A Partnership as a Solution

The project started when Brother Balledos heard the concerns of Filipino BYU-Hawaii alumni and students during his visit to BYU-Hawaii about going back home to the Philippines and being considered as non-eligible candidates by the Philippine Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) to take on licensure examinations for their respective bachelor’s degrees. The Welfare and Self-Reliance Services Department headed by Brother Abenir Pajaro reached out to PRC seeking possible solutions regarding the alumni and students’ concerns, to which the PRC responded that alumni and students are to take additional credits for them to be considered eligible. This requirement of the PRC led Brother Pajaro together with Brother John Balledos to reach out to Dr. Amelia A. Dorosan - Vice President for Academic Affairs of Bicol University, who also happens to be a member of the Church, asking Bicol University to assist with this undertaking.


During the meeting, Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas officially extended the support of Bicol University to the Church as Bicol University’s Board of Regents has unanimously agreed to partner with Brigham Young University-Hawaii to assist Filipino BYU-Hawaii alumni and students to accept necessary credentials giving them eligibility to take licensure examinations in the field of Accountancy, Psychology, Social Works and Teacher Education here in the Philippines.


A New Template in Higher Education


The partnership will start by focusing on Accountancy majors first as they continuously provide improvements and innovations in the system, which will be used to provide the necessary services needed by BYU-Hawaii. Dr. Mascariñas shared, "This will be a first for Bicol University, as well as for higher education in the Philippines”. He also expressed that this will be the first time that Bicol University is to engage in such a huge undertaking and that, according to Dr. Aldrin A. Darilag- CHED Commissioner and Chairperson of Bicol University’s Board of Regents, this “project and the experience gained from it may be used as a template of the Philippines Commission on Higher Education in implementing the same program to other higher education institutions in the Philippines.”


An ‘Open University System’


According to Dr. Amelia A. Dorosan, the mapping of the subjects (total units required) had already been done, and the corresponding subjects needed to be taken have already been identified. Dr. Maria Jane Mascariñas - Professor VI of Bicol University Open University, also shared that Bicol University’s Board of Regents has unanimously decided that the delivery system to be adopted would be the “Open University System,” wherein all classes will be delivered online making it easily accessible for alumni and students wherever they may be.


Open Universities have been adopted by numerous higher education institutions around the world to allow students easier access to higher education because the classes are held online, so students do not need to travel. Several universities in the Philippines like the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the University of the Philippines (UP) have adopted this model.


Dr. Maria Jane Mascariñas stated that the project will have 2 Phases; Phase 1 will focus on providing the service to BYU-Hawaii alumni, and Phase 2 will focus on integrating the system to Filipino students currently enrolled at BYU-Hawaii. Dr. Maria Jane Mascariñas is also hopeful that opportunities for faculty exchanges can be made possible as the partnership moves forward.


A ‘Bridge Back Home’


Brother Abnir Pajaro expressed his gratitude towards Bicol University when he said “We (WSRS) are happy to know that you are pioneering not only for our BYU students and BU, but also for the Philippines.” He also added that the partnership was “by divine design.”


Elder Steven R. Bangerter also expressed his appreciation to Bicol University saying “you are linking arms with BYU-Hawaii and making it possible for these young people to have a bridge back to the Philippines, to come back to their home and continue in their chosen fields of study and work.”


The project is expected to begin once the bilateral agreement is signed in February. The signing will be held at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.