Pinoy scholars help strengthen PH ties with South Korea

By Dianne Faye Despi, Contributor

Posted at Jun 18 2012 09:16 AM | Updated as of Jun 18 2012 05:16 PM

SEOUL, South Korea - The Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea (PIKO) was formed to serve Filipinos who are studying in South Korea.

Ramon Christian Eusebio, a student at Myongji University, heads PIKO's 8-member executive committee. There are more than 300 PIKO members, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, short-term exchange students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting professors.

All PIKO members share the common goal of pursuing higher knowledge through various universities and offices that they are now connected with.

PIKO's programs are designed not only for each Pinoy Iskolar’s academic and personal development, but also to instill strong Filipino values such as love for the human community (pagiging makatao), concern for the environment (pagiging makakalikasan),  love for motherland (pagiging makabansa), and love for God (pagiging maka-Diyos).

As a strong and active international student association, PIKO boasts of a cohesive academic network between Filipino students, professors and academicians in South Korea. Part of the objectives of PIKO is to support and supplement Filipino students’ academic and personal development, and we believe that as students, we should be well aware of timely issues that concern us Filipinos living abroad, and how we can contribute to the betterment of the society we live in.

This year, PIKO created provincial chapters in Gwangju and Cheongju, which strengthened internal membership and inter-city ties between the member-students. Distance is not anymore a problem, for each chapter has its own activities geared to help our scholars in the major regions of Korea.

PIKO also launched a lecture series on April 21, 2012 at the ASEAN-Korea Centre with the theme “The Role of the Filipino in International Education”. The guest speaker was Dr. Aileen Park, a Filipina professor-researcher in Ewha Womans’ University. About 30 students attended the event in Seoul, with a lively discussion on the Filipino identity and what our niche is in International Education.

Another major step for PIKO was the Dialogue with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) on the Internationalization of Education in Korea. As the pioneer in a series of dialogues by international student organizations, this activity further empowered PIKO to be a strong and well-respected student association in South Korea.

With Korea’s thrust for world-class global education in the year 2020, part of its global education program is to strengthen the internationalization of Korean education and make its environment conducive for a large influx of international students from all over the world.

In order to support this call for the better institutionalization of international education in Korea, PIKO held the first international student organization-sponsored dialogue with the MEST and the National Institute for International Education (NIIED) last May 19, 2012 in the Multipurpose Hall of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

Invited guests of honor included HE Ambassador Luis Cruz; Representative Jasmine Lee of the Saenuri Party of the Korean Parliament; MEST Global Policy Department Director Jin-hyung Kim; Philippine Resource Persons Group (PhilRPG) President Professor Manuel Dioquino; and a representative from Korea’s National Institute for International Educational Development. All guests of honor gave speeches of support and gratitude to PIKO for this endeavor to help the Korean government create policies to help international students all over the country.

PIKO Secretary Dianne Despi presented policy recommendations to the MEST and NIIED based on the experiences and suggestions of the Filipino students all over Korea. The research was conducted by PIKO PRO Eva Marie Wang. Also, Filipino students and professors engaged the MEST and NIIED in a short Q&A session regarding other policy directives of Korea regarding international education.

Now, as a new leadership is preparing to take the reins of a new era in PIKO history, the legacy of excellence and strong Filipino values will definitely continue in the hearts of our Pinoy Iskolars for the years to come.