The number of Filipino students studying abroad has been steadily increasing. Current data gathered by IDP Philippines*—a company that offers counseling and support services to Filipino students who want to study abroad—show there are roughly 49,000 Filipino students studying overseas. The top six country destinations for Filipino students are Australia (15,916), Canada (15,545), U.S. (5,284), UK (2,640), Japan (2,221), and New Zealand (1,334).
Cecil Mundo, IDP Philippines’ head of sales and operations for Student Placement, says they have seen a “strong rebound”—a 50% growth in market size, or the number of Filipino students now who are interested to study overseas compared to the past year.
IDP’s Emerging Futures survey conducted last March, shows that Canada was preferred by seven out of 10 students (70%) to study in, followed by Australia (66%), then New Zealand and the U.S. (both 45%). Mundo says many Filipino graduates usually find jobs in the field of health care/medicine, business, IT, and engineering.
IDP Philippines country director Jose Miguel Habana tells ANCX that Filipinos prefer Canada and Australia because these countries are “very innovative in creating post study work rights.” He says the top two reasons Filipinos study abroad based on surveys they’ve conducted are quality of education and post-study work opportunities. “Students are allowed to work while studying and after that, they are allowed to stay and work,” he says.
Habana says it’s much easier now for Filipino students to study abroad, with the global education services available in the country, like the one provided by IDP.
“I can base it on my own experience. Before, when I wasn’t familiar yet with IDP, my eldest son actually wanted to study abroad. But because the only information available for me then was to do research online, my son eventually decided to study here,” he tells ANCX. “With my second son, I was already with IDP so I was more well-informed because of our education counselors. It really demystified the whole process of studying abroad.”
IDP is student centric, says Habana, and that helps them understand what the students’ goals, priorities and needs are, and to match them with the country, course and school they wish to study and eventually work and migrate to.
IDP partners with more than 800 universities and institutions across Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the U.S. The complete list can be found here: https://www.idp.com/philippines/find-a-university/
Habana observes that it’s also much easier for international students to get employed today compared to a few years back, as there has been a big shortage of skilled workers globally brought about by the pandemic.
“We’re quite fortunate that post-pandemic, countries like Canada, Australia, even the UK, are very, very open [to migrant workers],” he says. “Obviously the main source of workers for some of these countries are migrants. And what they're trying to do to fill the gap is employ students who studied in their [country’s] institutions.”
Since Filipino overseas students are already familiar with the country’s culture and way of life following their studies, it’s likely that it’s easier for them to find employment, possibly get permanent residency, and have the opportunity to migrate.
But what continues to be the biggest challenge for many Filipinos to study abroad are the finances. “There would be more Filipino students studying abroad if we they have enough funding,” says Habana. The other challenge is the lack of relevant information on what awaits them in these countries, something IDP seeks to address.
“The reason we're expanding our operations is because the Philippines is a migration-driven market. Many Filipinos really want to go overseas to study and migrate, and education can be one pathway. Being more well-informed about the policies of these countries in terms of post study work rights [makes it easy for them],” he says.
The IDP Philippines country director says Filipinos have been identified as a key market for the company’s global growth strategy. “Filipinos are identified as a priority market for overseas skilled workers, mainly because we speak good English and we are able to assimilate well into the environment especially of English speaking countries.”
In recent education conferences he attended in Australia and Canada, Habana witnessed firsthand how universities and colleges in those countries have prioritized Filipino students as “VIP source markets for driving higher quality and diversity of students.”
This is the reason why the company recently opened a Makati office and is looking to open at five or more offices in key cities and provinces around the country by the end of 2023. “Our goal is to bring IDP services closer to our customers,” he says.
IDP Philippines presently operates in four cities: Pasig, Cebu, Baguio, and Makati. It also runs computer-delivered IELTS (International English Language Testing System) laboratories in Pampanga, Davao, and Bacolod as well as administers paper-based IELTS test in around 30 cities across the country. Founded in Australia in 1969, the company has been operating in the Philippines since 1985, making it a local pioneer in the industry with 37 years of experience.
*IDP no longer uses its old meaning—International Development Program—after the former Australian government-run development program evolved into what is now a publicly listed company. They have, however, chosen to retain the use of the initials for its name. For more information, visit https://ielts.idp.com/philippines