Working Paper 103
Internationalization of Philippine Higher Education: Between Nationalism and Co-optation
Published December 2023

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) officially released in 2016 the Philippines’ key policy document on the internationalization of the country’s higher education system. Vigorous efforts followed to promote internationalization activities, such as mobilities and bilateral partnerships. While many university leaders express their commitment to internationalization, many others from public and private institutions reject the policy due to concerns over fairness in access to government resources and the relevance of internationalization to their mandates. Against this backdrop, this study examined several national policy documents issued between 1994 and 2020 that are directly and indirectly related to the internationalization of higher education in the country. The author employed the Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) developed by R. Wodak et al. as a methodology to reveal how the concept of internationalization is translated, articulated, and enacted in the Philippines, and how the country’s colonial history and location in the periphery of the global higher education landscape impact the codification and institutionalization of internationalization policies. The research results indicate an ambivalent ideology characterized by nationalism and co-optation. They also raise questions about the Western-centric understanding of internationalization and decolonization of internationalization of higher education.